DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 18, 2019

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 18, 2019

Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers. To start, here’s an excerpt of my latest Japan Times column, out today:

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Know your rights when checking in at an Airbnb
BY DEBITO ARUDOU,
THE JAPAN TIMES, APR 17, 2019

Last year, the government passed a law covering minpaku, which is when people rent out space on their properties to travelers (a la Airbnb). The law is part of an effort to regulate accommodations amid a tourism boom ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

One issue for non-Japanese travelers, though, has been whether they must show ID such as a passports at check-in.

For hotels, which fall under the Hotel Business Law, the regulation has always been this: For any adult, Japanese or non-Japanese, who has an address in Japan, ID is not required. You just write your contact details in the guest registry. However, for guests who don’t reside in this country, displaying ID (i.e., your passport) is required.

Seems straightforward so far, right? But as has been reported several times over more than 10 years of this column, the police (and occasionally the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) have confused things. Some hotels have been instructed that all “foreign guests” must show ID, specifically their passports…
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Rest at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2019/04/17/issues/know-rights-checking-airbnb/
Anchor site on Debito.org for commentary at http://www.debito.org/?p=15625.
More information on the letter of the law at http://www.debito.org/?p=15559.
Now on with the Newsletter:

Table of Contents:
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MORE OFFICIAL OVERREACTION TO NJ INVITED INFLUX

1) Record 2.73 million NJ residents in Japan in 2018; media also shoehorns in mention of NJ crime, without mention of NJ contributions
2) MC on new Minpaku Law and NJ check-ins: Govt. telling AirBnB hostels that “foreign guests” must have passports photocopied etc. Yet not in actual text of the Minpaku Law. Or any law.
3) XY: Hotel calls cops on NJ Resident at check-in for not showing passport. And cops misinterpret laws. Unlawful official harassment is escalating.
4) Fox on getting interrogated at Sumitomo Prestia Bank in Kobe. Thanks to new FSA regulations that encourage even more racial profiling.
5) “Gaikokujin Appetizer Charge” in Osaka Dotonbori restaurant? Debito.org investigates.

THE SENAIHO CASE OF SCHOOL HAIR POLICING TAKEN TO COURT

6) Senaiho on criminal complaint against Jr High School “Hair Police” in Yamanashi
7) UPDATE: Senaiho on the stacked Board of Education committee investigating his Yamanashi jr. high school Hair Police complaint
8 ) UPDATE 2: Senaiho School Bullying in Yamanashi JHS: How people who file complaints for official harassment get harassed back
9) NYT: Hair policing soon to be treated as “racial discrimination” by NYC Commission of Human Rights. Compare with JHS & HS Hair Police in Japan.

HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN

10) Debito.org’s stance on the Carlos Ghosn Case, at last: A boardroom coup making “thin legal soup” that might shame Japan’s “hostage justice” judicial system into reform
11) Debito article in Shingetsu News Agency: “The Japan Times Becomes Servant to the Elite” (Feb 2, 2019)

… and finally…
12) Japan Times JBC 114, “Top Ten Human Rights Issues for NJ in Japan for 2018” column, “Director’s Cut” with links to sources
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By Debito Arudou Ph.D.
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito
Debito.org Newsletters as always are freely forwardable

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MORE OFFICIAL OVERREACTION TO NJ INVITED INFLUX

1) Record 2.73 million NJ residents in Japan in 2018; media also shoehorns in mention of NJ crime, without mention of NJ contributions

Mainichi: A record 2,731,093 foreigners were registered living in Japan at the end of 2018, up 6.6 percent from a year earlier, bolstered by a rising number of students and technical trainees, the Justice Ministry said Friday. The government is expecting a further rise in foreign residents under a new visa system to be implemented next month with the aim of attracting more foreign workers amid a severe shortage of labor in the country.

COMMENT: After a dip a few years ago, the population of NJ continues to rise, now reaching a new record, according to the Mainichi and the Yomiuri below. This will probably continue, since, as I have noted in previous writings (see #1 here too), the Japanese Government is actively seeking to bring in NJ to fill perpetual labor shortages. But as noted, it won’t be treated as an “immigration policy”, meaning these people won’t be officially encouraged to stay. Nor will they be treated with the respect they deserve (as usual) for their valuable contributions to society. As submitter JK notes, “Of course these reports aren’t complete without the obligatory linkage between ‘foreign’ and ‘crime’ (i.e. illegal overstayers).”

When will the GOJ decide to give us some stats on how much NJ, as workers, contribute to the bottom line by keeping companies staffed and in business? Or by paying taxes? Other countries manage to come up with these kinds of figures, so why can’t Japan? Well, because that would encourage regular folk to have justifications for seeing NJ as human beings, and wanting them to stay for reasons beyond facile curiosity/exploitation. Can’t have that!

http://www.debito.org/?p=15597

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2) MC on new Minpaku Law and NJ check-ins: Govt. telling AirBnB hostels that “foreign guests” must have passports photocopied etc. Yet not in actual text of the Minpaku Law. Or any law.

It seems the GOJ is up to its old tricks: Reinterpreting the law to pick on “foreigners” again. This was seen previously on Debito.org to encourage racial profiling at hotel check-ins, and now with the new Minpaku Law affecting AirBnB-style private homes opened for public accommodation (minshuku), it’s more of the same. Read on from Debito.org Reader MC:

MC: I wrote to the Minpaku I stayed at with an explanation of the problematic nature of their system in regards to Non-Japanese customers. First, they had no right to ask for photographs of anyone, resident or not, Japanese or not. The idea of requiring guests to upload a scan of a driving licence or passport, or even just a face shot, is just asking for identity theft, and is certainly illegal. I explained the law on this as follows: “The Japan Hotel Laws are quite clear on this: If the guest is NOT a resident of Japan you DO have the right to ask for a passport number (not a copy of the passport). But if the guest IS a resident of Japan, on the other hand, whatever the nationality, they have no responsibility to provide any kind of copy of an official document or any photograph. It’s a gross invasion of privacy.”

The Minpaku lodging replied to say that the new Minpaku Law of 2018 allowed for online check-in, and required photographic ID. The former is true, but I didn’t think the latter was. However, I checked out the wording at the Minpaku system portal on the MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) site, and it looks to me as though there is some cause for worry.

COMMENT: MLIT is offering a freewheeling interpretation of the law (as keeps happening by Japanese officialdom, particularly the Japanese police, over-interpreting the law for their convenience to target foreigners). However, there is NOTHING in the Minpaku Law that requires NJ Residents of Japan to supply passport numbers (and by extension passport copies and mugshots). But where is this heading? Towards more rigmarole, policing, and official harassment of NJ-resident customers. (MLIT is even explicitly advising Minpaku to call the cops if the “foreign guest” has no passport, even though residents are not required to carry them; and as the Carlos Ghosn Case demonstrates, you do NOT want to be detained by the Japanese police under any circumstances.) And I have been hearing of other Japan-lifers now finding it harder to check-in while foreign.

Bottom line: The new Minpaku Law hasn’t fundamentally changed anything in regards to NJ resident customers. You are still not required to show ID, passport, or photo to any Japanese accommodation if you indicate that you have an address in Japan.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15559

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3) XY: Hotel calls cops on NJ Resident at check-in for not showing passport. And cops misinterpret laws. Unlawful official harassment is escalating.

Submitter XY: Just now I tried using your website to avoid having my passport scanned at a hotel after it escalated all the way to the police. The short story is: Just don’t do it, it won’t work. It’s not worth it at all…

I showed the cop the three reasons that hotels can refuse service. He tried to make an argument that it fell under the “public morals” part of clause 2, but when I pressed him on that even he agreed that it was a stretch. He went and talked on the phone for a while, but not before talking about searching my possessions, which I said was no problem. When he came back, he had written down the name of a certain law, which I’m sorry I don’t remember the name of, but it apparently allows hotels to scan IDs of its customers.

I gave up at that point, and my possessions were never searched. I gave my passport to be scanned and apologized to the police and apologized more profusely to the receptionist.I have the feeling that if the cops that showed up were less nice, they would have found some reason to take me to the station. So I’m currently feeling very lucky. I won’t roll the dice again.

COMMENT: But the point still stands: When it comes to dealing with hotel check-ins, Japan’s police have been bending the law (if not simply making it up) for well over a decade. The law: If you have an address in Japan, you don’t have to show ID, regardless of citizenship. As Submitter XY would probably argue, the issue is now whether or not you are willing to stare down the police.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15590

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4) Fox on getting interrogated at Sumitomo Prestia Bank in Kobe. Thanks to new FSA regulations that encourage even more racial profiling.

My old friend Fox in Japan writes in with a tale of being, as he puts it, “interrogated” at the bank for trying to send $500 overseas while foreign. And if you think the claim “while foreign” is a bit of an exaggeration, Debito.org has numerous records of racial profiling by Japanese banks for sending or receiving funds (or exchanging money) of even minuscule amounts (such as 500 yen). New regulations, however, require a “risk-based approach” (which is, according to the Nikkei, recommended but not required), meaning the scale of “risk” depends on how much money the sender/receiver has in that bank. Or as the Nikkei puts it, “Consider a customer with a direct payroll deposit of 300,000 yen ($2,660) a month who receives 200 million yen from an overseas bank. The government would require that the bank not only follow up confirming the identity of the person withdrawing the funds, but also check the deposit history and what the cash will be used for.”

Meaning that this is no longer a matter of transfer amount — i.e., a large transfer of 5,000,000 yen (later 2,000,000 yen) used to raise flags while smaller transfers didn’t. (Japan’s FSA Guidelines of 2018 mention no money amount whatsoever.) The problem now becomes, without an objective minimum transfer amount to be flagged, that any “foreigner” can be arbitrarily deemed “risky” at any time simply by dint. It encourages racial profiling even further, in addition to what you already have at Japan’s hotels and other public accommodation, police instant ID checkpoints, and tax agencies. More Embedded Racism.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15584

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5) “Gaikokujin Appetizer Charge” in Osaka Dotonbori restaurant? Debito.org investigates.

Message to BBS: ‘I was in the Dotonbori area in Osaka for the New Years break. My friend and I were hungry and decided to go to an Izakaya there rather than walk a bit. Given that it’s a huge touristy area we were already expecting sneaky charges and overpriced food, but we were hungry. Anyways, we pay and notice that the price is higher than we expected, but we were super tired and didn’t feel like doing the math. An hour later we’re on the train headed to Kobe and we look at the receipt, we notice a Gaijin fee of 300 yen per person. The service charge was BS too, but somehow less surprising. Has anybody experienced something similar.”

COMMENT: A reader of this BBS sent Debito.org a copy of the receipt, and yes, “Gaikokujin Tsukidashi” (Appetizers for Foreigners) is clearly listed. Debito telephoned the restaurant to investigate…

http://www.debito.org/?p=15482

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THE “SENAIHO” CASE OF SCHOOL HAIR POLICING TAKEN TO COURT

6) Senaiho on criminal complaint against Jr High School “Hair Police” in Yamanashi

Senaiho: Since writing this article in the spring of last year, there have been several developments in our case. At the end of 2017, we submitted a petition to the Yamanashi board of education requesting they do an investigation into the bullying, and reasons for the trauma experienced by our daughter. As a result of this experience she has been absent for almost the entire last two years of her middle school education.

Over the course of 2017 with the help of our local Ombudsman, we managed to collect over 1500 signatures requesting that the school board do an internal investigation into the causes and responsibilities of the incidents regarding our daughter. The school board agreed to do an investigation. At the end of 2018 after reports of monthly meetings of the school board (in which we were not allowed to participate), we were informed that the results of this investigation completely exonerated the teachers and any public officials of any misdeeds or responsibility regarding the treatment of our daughter. It was all our fault as incompetent parents that our daughter was bullied and suffered such trauma that she was not able to attend school. Shame on us. We have requested to see a copy of this report, but have been informed that will not be allowed. The reason given is that it contains the names of private individuals involved whose privacy must be protected. Bullspit! We tried to be civil and it got us nowhere.

As of January 8, 2019, we have filed with the Yamanashi Pref. Police a criminal complaint naming the school principal and three teachers as defendants. Later that afternoon we also held a press conference. As of this writing articles regarding our case have appeared in several newspapers across the country. Since it is still early in the criminal case, I am sure there will be many developments over the next several weeks and months. I will strive to keep you informed as these occur.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15489

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7) UPDATE: Senaiho on the stacked Board of Education committee investigating his Yamanashi jr. high school Hair Police complaint

What follows is an update about Senaiho’s case, i.e., overzealous enforcers of school rules in Japan’s compulsory education system who essentially become the “Hair Police”. This phenomenon particularly affects NJ and Japanese of diverse backgrounds, who are forced by officials to dye and/or straighten their naturally “Non-Asian” hair just to attend school.

Bullying is rife in Japanese education, but when it’s ignored (or even perpetuated) by officialdom, this feeling of powerlessness will leave children (particularly those NJ children with diverse physical features targeted for “standing out”) and their families scarred for life. (As discussed at length in book “Embedded Racism”, pg. 154-5.) As reported on Debito.org last month, after months of playing by the rules established by the local Board of Education, Senaiho finally lodged a formal criminal complaint against his daughter’s school officials, and it’s smoking out hidden documents. This blog entry is an update to the case, where he has managed to uncover just how stacked the system is against him, and why he was entirely correct to pursue this issue through criminal, not Board of Education, channels.

This is one of the worst-kept secrets about Japan — its underdeveloped civil society generally leaves the government to do everything, and the cosy relations between government officials means a lack of independent investigation and oversight. Coverup becomes Standard Operating Procedure. Hence “kusai mono ni futa o suru” (“put a lid on that which stinks” — instead of actually cleaning it up) isn’t a bellyaching grumble — it’s a PROVERB in Japan.

Your kid having trouble in Japanese school? Keep an eye on this case and learn a few alternative avenues for recourse.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15555

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8 ) UPDATE 2: Senaiho School Bullying in Yamanashi JHS: How people who file complaints for official harassment get harassed back

Here’s a second update from “Senaiho”, who has given Debito.org important updates (previous ones here and here) about overzealous enforcers of school rules in Japan’s compulsory education system acting as what Debito.org has long called “the Hair Police“. This phenomenon particularly affects NJ and Japanese of diverse backgrounds, who are forced by officials to dye and/or straighten their naturally “Non-Asian” hair just to attend school.

The update is that The BOE is simply engaging in obfuscation and coverup. After attracting some (domestic) press attention (which didn’t itself cover the racial-discrimination aspect of this happening to a child of international background, for having the wrong natural hair color/texture), the local government has decided (as you can see below) to investigate not the case (to prevent something like this from ever happening again to another student), but rather how not to get sued. Official transcripts are also indicating testimonies grounded in rumor, not fact, without direct input from the victimized family. And for good measure, we now have the time-worn bureaucratic tactic of smothering claimants with documents to consume all their free time. All while Senaiho is attempting to take this out of local lackluster investigative hands and into criminal court, by filing a criminal complaint.

The interesting news is that according to a recent article in Japan Today (full text after Senaiho’s dispatches) is that forcible hair cutting like this is seen as (generally distasteful) corporal punishment (taibatsu) elsewhere (in conservative Yamaguchi Prefecture of all places, home constituency of PM Abe). In that case, apologies were forced by the students, top-down pressure put on the teacher to reform, and the teacher being relieved of some of his duties. Let’s keep an eye on Senaiho’s case, for if his criminal complaint succeeds, it will be a template for others on how to take cases of abusive teachers out of the hands of evasive, “see-no-evil” Boards of Education, and protect diverse children from the cookie-cutter conformity of Japan’s JHSs and SHSs.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15609

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9) NYT: Hair policing soon to be treated as “racial discrimination” by NYC Commission of Human Rights. Compare with JHS & HS Hair Police in Japan.

NYT: Under new guidelines to be released this week by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the targeting of people based on their hair or hairstyle, at work, school or in public spaces, will now be considered racial discrimination. The change in law applies to anyone in New York City but is aimed at remedying the disparate treatment of black people; the guidelines specifically mention the right of New Yorkers to maintain their “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

In practice, the guidelines give legal recourse to individuals who have been harassed, threatened, punished, demoted or fired because of the texture or style of their hair. The city commission can levy penalties up to $250,000 on defendants that are found in violation of the guidelines and there is no cap on damages. The commission can also force internal policy changes and rehirings at offending institutions… (The new guidelines do not interfere with health and safety reasons for wearing hair up or in a net, as long as the rules apply to everyone.)

The guidelines, obtained by The New York Times before their public release, are believed to be the first of their kind in the country. They are based on the argument that hair is inherent to one’s race (and can be closely associated with “racial, ethnic, or cultural identities”) and is therefore protected under the city’s human rights laws, which outlaw discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion and other protected classes.

COMMENT: Related to our recent posts by Senaiho about the unchecked bullying power of the self-appointed “Hair Police” in Japan’s secondary education system, here’s how a progressive system deals with it, particularly when it comes to hairstyles in the professional world. New York City’s Human Rights Commission will soon be enforcing guidelines dealing with racial discrimination when it comes to how people choose to wear their hair professionally. And these penalties have real teeth: The NYC HRC can levy fines on companies of up to a quarter-mil, plus damages in court afterwards!

This is, of course, absolutely unimaginable in Japan, where their state-sponsored “Bureau of Human Rights” (Jinken Yougobu) is but a Potemkin system (with no ability to levy penalties, and arbitrary guidelines for launching investigations) that only exists to deflect criticism from overseas that Japan isn’t respecting treaty obligations towards human rights. Consequently people of diversity are forced into an absolutist narrative where “looking Japanese” is not only quantifiable as a standard (e.g., hair must be straight and black), but also enforceable under normalized racial profiling by the Japanese police (which has detained people for “looking foreign” while Japanese). This is why “Embedded Racism” remains so unchecked in Japan. So consider the NYC HRC as a template.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15564

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HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN

10) Debito.org’s stance on the Carlos Ghosn Case, at last: A boardroom coup making “thin legal soup” that might shame Japan’s “hostage justice” judicial system into reform

Debito.org has been holding back on commenting on the Carlos Ghosn arrest and perpetual interrogation. But now that Ghosn has had practically unprecedented access to the media (see article below), and stands as a cautionary tale for any foreign businessman thinking they could get away with being a CEO of a Japanese company, it’s time to say something. Here goes:

COMMENT: The former CEO of Nissan and Mitsubishi motors, Ghosn was arrested last November and indicted in December for inter alia allegedly underreporting his income for tax purposes. As of this writing, he remains in police custody for the 23-day cycles of interrogations and re-arrests, until he confesses to a crime. Ghosn’s arrest shows how far you can fall if you’re foreign. Especially if you’re foreign.

One red flag was that the only two people arrested in this fiasco have been foreign: Ghosn and his associate, Greg Kelly. Kelly is now out on bail due to health concerns. But where are the others doing similar malfeasances? According to Reuters, Kobe Steel underreported income in 2008, 2011, and 2013, and committed data fraud for “nearly five decades.” Same with Toray and Ube Industries, Olympus, Takata, Mitsubishi Materials, Nissan, and Subaru. Who’s been arrested? Nobody but those two foreigners.

And Japan’s judicial system has a separate track for NJ suspects, including harsher jurisprudence for NJs accused of crimes, lax jurisprudence for NJ victims of crimes, uneven language translation services, general denial of bail for NJ, an extra incarceration system for subsequent visa violations while in jail, and incarceration rates for NJs four times that for citizens. Most indicative of separate and unequal treatment is that some of the accusations, which fall under a statute of limitations of seven years under the Companies Act, are still applicable. Prosecutors have argued that statutes do not apply to Ghosn because he spent time overseas. Apparently even the passage of time is different for foreigners, because the clock stops if they ever leave Japan!

It’s Debito.org’s view that this was a boardroom coup. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Ghosn was planning to oust a rival, Hiroto Saikawa, who has since taken Ghosn’s place as CEO. A similar thing happened to at Olympus in 2011, when CEO Michael Woodford broke ranks and came clean on boardroom grift. He was fired for not understanding “Japanese culture,” since that’s the easiest thing to pin on any foreigner. But in Woodford’s case, he was fired, not arrested and subjected to Japan’s peculiar system of “hostage justice” police detention, where detainees are denied access to basic amenities (including sleep or lawyers) for weeks at a time, and interrogated until they crack and confess, with more than 99% conviction rates.

The good news is that finally overseas media is waking up to what Japan’s Federation of Bar Associations and the UN Committee Against Torture have respectively called “a breeding ground for false charges” and “tantamount to torture.” Funny thing is, if this had happened in China, we’d have had howls much sooner about the gross violations of Ghosn’s human rights.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15548

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11) Debito article in Shingetsu News Agency: “The Japan Times Becomes Servant to the Elite” (Feb 2, 2019)

A couple of days ago I commented on an article in the Japan Times by a former Ministry of Foreign Affairs diplomat and TV pundit Miyake Kunihiko (or “Kuni”, for gaijin ingratiation) who has a weekly JT space for his musings. A pedigreed elite trained in international “Gaijin Handling”, Miyake clumsily talks about Japan’s race relations and multiethnic future by critiquing tennis champ Osaka Naomi’s “Japaneseness”.

My JT comment helped draw attention to the article, and I’ve just written my first feature piece for the Shingetsu News Agency (the only independent English-language media left in Japan not toeing a Japanese government line) about what Miyake’s article indicates in terms of the decline in the JT’s analytical abilities, as it swings rightward to knuckle under to revisionist pressure on Japanese media and curry favor with Japan’s elites. It also cites other research from Reuters and the Asia-Pacific Journal (Japan Focus). Here’s an excerpt:

The Japan Times Becomes Servant to the Elite
By Debito Arudou, Shingetsu News Agency, February 2, 2019

[…] This half-baked column is indicative of something much larger—a decline in analytical prowess due to the editorial changes at the Japan Times in recent years.

The Japan Times came under new ownership in June 2017 by the media group News2u Holdings, a PR company. In an unexpected editorial shift, last November the Japan Times announced that it would henceforth be rewording the “potentially misleading” (and internationally-recognized) terms “Comfort Women”—which is already a direct translation of the official euphemism of ianfu—as “women who worked in wartime brothels, including those who did so against their will, to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.” Likewise, the term “forced laborers” would now be rendered merely as “wartime laborers,” following the new government policy.

Aside from journalistic concerns about cramming a wordy term into concise articles, it wasn’t hard for media observers to understand this as a response to government pressure, already manifest in Japanese media and world history textbooks, to portray Japan’s past in a more exculpatory light.

Rest at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2019/02/02/the-japan-times-becomes-servant-to-the-elite/
Debito.org anchor site with comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=15541

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… and finally…
12) Japan Times JBC 114, “Top Ten Human Rights Issues for NJ in Japan for 2018” column, “Director’s Cut” with links to sources

Now that the clicks have died down on my latest Japan Times JBC column of January 28, 2019 (thanks for putting it in the Top Ten trending articles once again), what follows is the first final draft I submitted to the Japan Times for editing on December 29, 2018. I blog this version because a lot of information is lost (inevitably) as we cut the word count from 2800 to 1600 words. (I generally put everything in the first final draft, then cut it down to fit the page; that way we don’t overlook anything and have to backtrack.)

People have been asking what got cut (and yes, the original version mentions former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford and former Japan Times columnist Dr. Jeff Kingston), so the piece below is quite a bit different from what appeared in the Japan Times here (meaning it shouldn’t draw away any readers from the JT version; in fact, it will probably spur more views from readers wanting to compare).

Also, having links to sources matter, so here it all is, including my regular acerbic tone:
http://www.debito.org/?p=15535

And here’s how it came out in The Japan Times:
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2019/01/27/issues/new-visas-tourism-backlash-top-10-issues-affected-us-2018-may-forecast-future-treatment/

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That’s all for now. Thanks as always for reading!
Debito Arudou Ph.D.
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 18, 2019 ENDS

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26 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 18, 2019

  • “1) Record 2.73 million NJ residents in Japan in 2018; media also shoehorns in mention of NJ crime, without mention of NJ contributions”

    Speaking of Japan liking to equate NJ residents and now even including tourists as criminals and enemy invaders, I have also found some disturbing hate propaganda in Japanese popular media as of recent.

    More specifically it is regarding a light novel and anime medium that is titled : Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. It is popular enough that I saw ads last year all around Akihabara and on trains that I decided to take a look.

    The initial premise of this anime seems cute and innocent but looking at it further reveals that the anime’s cute cover about children attending magic school a la Harry Potter style is but a cover to spread far-right propaganda, promote racism and genocide of NJ according to some online analysis.

    http://thedarksideofequality.blogspot.com/2014/09/mahouka-koukou-no-rettousei-is.html

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheIrregularAtMagicHighSchool

    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/bbs/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4227069#4227069

    Here in this link you will find a sub cut-scene where one the characters respond in shock of Tatsuya’s (main character) decision to oppose equality in Japan. Basically, in the anime and light novel, the main character tries to convince the reader and the cast that racism in Japan is somehow necessary for survival.
    http://thecartdriver.com/mahouka-is-terrible-on-every-level-a-final-review/

    According to wiki, it is also the top selling piece of literature of all time in Japan with 7.7 million copies sold in Japan.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Irregular_at_Magic_High_School#Reception

    While xenophobia in Japanese media should come as no surprise to those that know Japan, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei takes the extra mile by having its main character, Tatsuya Shiba rail against the common NJ immigrant, immigration and equality rights activists.

    Not to mention that late into the story, progressive activism in Japan is revealed to be a sinister plot masterminded by NJ to weaken Japan, which unfortunately is something J-nationalists actually believe. I mean how many times have we seen the comments section of Debito’s Just Be Case column in JTimes being populated by apologists trying to accuse Debito of being a Chinese shill?

    The main character, Tatsuya Shiba who is spouting all this racist shit about NJ also goes by the nick name of “Black Dragon”. A thinly veiled reference to the same Black Dragon society that is responsible for Japan’s entry into WWII perhaps? Heck, the main character even talks like a Black Dragon society ultra-nationalist even.

    I have only watched the anime and read reviews, but those who have read the light novels of Mahouka said the xenophobia is worse.

    Those who have read it, according to the posts in the links says that the main character Tatsuya Shiba, crushes equality activists with violence, kills NJ combatants in the cruel manner a WWII Japanese soldier would and touts the idea that immigrants in Japan should be wiped out.

    And with Japan exceptionalism at work on the internet as usual you will find neckbeard apologists trying to hard to deny that Mahouka is a racist and trying to tell critics that its just a fictional “harmless” work.

    Unfortunately, knowing Japan, truth and fiction is generally blurred and as long as its something the Japanese like to hear no matter how bizzare they will take it to heart and believe it as a gospel even if you pull a fake anti-NJ story out of the ass.

    So in essence I believe that while Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei maybe fiction, it will ultimately have a strong negative influence on Japanese society. Many Japanese will no doubt take the story’s xenophobic suggestion that all NJ are dangerous and that all equality activists are shills of a foreign hostile power to heart as fact because Japanese racists want it to be true.

    Besides it wasn’t that long ago when the J-GOV shut down the illegal immigrant snitch site because the Japanese public went to town reporting EVERY NJ they ever met and overwhelmed the server.

    Even though racism against NJ is very common in all forms of J-media but I feel this particular anime and novel at least does stick out among the rest in as Mahouka seems exceptionally aggressive in trying to impose the author’s ultra-nationalist beliefs on J-society. A sale of 7.7 million might not represent all of 127 million Japanese but it is still a big number. Not to mention its chilling how its only NJ who are pointing out the racism in Mahouka.

    Besides didn’t the LDP said something that they needed a total of 10 million signatures to revise the pacifist constitution?

    I know apologists are going to laugh and say I am over-reacting to a peace of fiction, but that is not how Japanese logic work. There is no such thing as real or imaginary lines when it comes to making up bullshit about NJ in Japanese society.

    And maybe racism in J-media is so common that Mahouka should be considered non-news, I feel it should get special mention because because the author of Mahouka is trying to promote his anti-immigration and anti-equality stance in an exceptionally serious manner.

    And according to a forum poster who read the light novel, the part where the main character, Tatsuya Shiba is trying to promote and justify the murder of the average NJ immigrant is particularly bothersome.

    And the fact that Tatsuya’s nickname is Black Dragon adding to the fact that he quacks like a Black Dragon society member tells me that the reference is more intentional than coincidental.

    I don’t have the novels to reference off of as I have only watched the anime and gathered online the information from those that did read the novel, but I hear the xenophobia is worse in the novel given there is more time and space for the author to write his racist bile. I am so disgusted by the anime that I don’t want to touch the novel but if you want sources the novels are available as sources.

    Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei at least to me feels like a melodrama version of the Gaijin Hanzai magazine. Mahouka also feels less of an entertainment and more of a political manifesto DISGUISED as entertainment and that Mahouka’s purpose is not just to entertain, put to aggressively push a political agenda into the audience.

    And with many Japanese becoming more blatant and in your face with their xenophobia coupled with the fact that the New Zealand shooting incident is still fresh in my mind I sometimes wonder how much longer Japanese xenophobes can keep their violent urges in check.

    Racism in J-media may not be news to people that know Japan well but I find the uptick in more blatant racism in J-media a worrying trend. The far-right may not be representative of the J-population at large but a disproportionate amount of power in Japan is in the hands a very few but very powerful group of well connected ultra-conservatives and have strong influence on how Japan is run.

    Many will think why I am so hyped out about a piece of fiction, but there are many that doesn’t understand the that within the context of Japanese style rationalism, there exists no such thing as lines of fact and fiction when it comes to xenophobia and that itself is enough to be concerned about when a piece of fiction so openly and blatantly promote xenophobia.

    Reply
    • AnonymousOG says:

      That was a well-written vital post. Thank you Bayfield for your pointing out that dangerous and disturbing fact:

      Wow, almost 10% of people in Japan bought that book (yes, almost a high enough mandate to change the constitution to officially announce the reality that Japan already has the offensive military capabilities and intentions to start a war of aggression again) and probably 20 million people in Japan have watched that animation, with an appalling 0% of raised-in-Japanese-culture people voicing any criticism about that “Don’t give equality to all races: instead eradicate all Non-Japanese races” racial-massacre-invoking-message disseminated by “Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei” written by “Tsutomu Satō” (if that is his real name.)

      https://tinyurl.com/Example1-thankCartDriverDotCom
      https://tinyurl.com/Example2-thankCartDriverDotCom
      https://tinyurl.com/Example3-thankCartDriverDotCom

      (Such a racial-massacre-invoking-message is theoretically automatically illegal in Japan due to the Supreme Law U.N. ICERD Treaty which Japan signed, ratified, and began violating 25 years ago by not complying, but the reality is so far only one solitary legal-power-holding Japanese person has ever had the courage to admit the ICERD Treaty being legally supreme and thus automatically legally in effect in Japan: the Judge in the Ana Bortz court case ruling.)

      The media of Japan has shown absolutely zero criticism about the racial-massacre-invoking-message disseminated by “Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei”, and thus the Wikipedia pages (both Japanese and English) have shown absolutely zero criticism about that fact.

      (Just like the media silence about APA’s CEO’s propaganda dissemination, pointed out here recently)
      https://www.debito.org/?p=15590#comment-1731298

      Anyway, thank you Bayfield for bringing that 2019-Japan-culture-approved “Don’t give equality to all races: instead eradicate all Non-Japanese races” racial-massacre-invoking-message to our attention.

      Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Oh, where to start? Previous posters have said it all; racism disguised as entertainment, right wing nationalist resentment at ‘lies’ about Japan’s wartime crimes leading to those crimes being projected onto ‘the other’ as justification for exactly the kind of criminal acts they deny in the first place, ‘slut-shaming’, and of course, the ‘wooden block’ part of the story which is a manifestation of Japanese (imaginary) insecurity at being discriminated against by the western world ‘great powers’ (as if they even think of themselves as such these days!) for being somehow deficient in some irrelevant aspect.
    It’s merely all about insecurity, resentment, and misplaced sense of entitlement. No wonder the japanese are loving it.
    But it’s exactly these things that have caused terrible mass killings and murders in western societies.
    Warning bells should be sounding.

    Reply
    • AnonymousOG says:

      Wow. There’s a chilling video linked in that article:

      “If you want to see what the current rulers of Japan really want in the Reiwa Era, watch this English subtitled and chilling video taken at a May 10, 2012 meeting of Liberal Democratic Party members during a forum on reinventing Japan. At the meeting, Abe and his former minister of justice declare that for Japan to progress it must have a standing army and rid itself of “popular sovereignty, basic human rights, pacifism…” Those remarks are greeted with wild applause.”

      https://amara.org/en/videos/Sn9Zc0UeRQzF/en/1405913/3792355/

      Reply
      • Chilling indeed. He’s like a child. “Don’t tell me what to do!” is what he is saying. Word for word.

        Adults, on the other hand, if they disagree with something, present reasons for why they disagree and they also propose alternatives. Both of those things were missing from that video.

        No reason for why they disagree with democracy, human rights, and peace, and no proposed alternatives.

        There is no reason why anyone should take him seriously but I fear that we have entered into a dark era when reason does not matter.

        Reply
    • bayfield says:

      I totally agree with the article, but I feel this part might need some correction:

      The article says that.
      “79 percent of the Japanese public no longer believed the Japanese government’s statistics… ”

      Sure, maybe the majority of the public might not believe all information given to them by the government. But if the government where instead to spread some xenophobic propaganda such as tweaking NJ crime stats to make NJ crime look higher then it really is, would the public still doubt that?

      That is the trump card that the Abe government has, if all else fails to convince the public to trust them, cook up xenophobic sentiments, and the public will lap it up to varying degrees.

      The people that don’t like Abe, but also don’t like NJ will still end up supporting Abe for his “get tough on NJ” policies be it international (China,N-Korea,Middle East), or domestic (like attempts to segregate NJ or make it hard for NJ to get benefits or long term residency, the hair police, etc.).

      So in the end Abe will still win because he still has the big business vote, the rural vote and the xenophobic vote. Then you have apathetic voters, who won’t vote because they don’t care, The opposition loses because no one votes for them and the LDP will become a de-facto winner of every future election.

      I don’t disagree with the article, but I feel it should at least mention about public voter apathy because at the end of the day it is still the voters that have allowed the LDP to stay in power.

      I still don’t think Japan is a full fledged dictatorship yet, and that the 79% of dissatisfied voters still have a chance to show their dissatisfaction in the next election. Only if the apathetic voting public still continue to sit on their hands will the LDP be able revert Japan back to its “good-ol-days” of Dai Nippon because the public has allowed it to happen by not doing anything.

      Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Nippon Kaigi and its links to Abe expose writer Sugano arrested for sexual assault. Police say he ‘basically admitted the charges’.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/05/22/national/crime-legal/best-selling-writer-tamotsu-sugano-referred-prosecutors-allegation-attempted-sexual-assault/

    Well, it wouldn’t be the first (or the 100th) time an innocent man confessed to avoid lengthy detention and psychological torture. The thing is, Japan’s system is so deprived of respect for human rights, that it’s just lost all credibility. Ask Carlos Ghosn.

    And let’s not forget, journalists accused of rape that write favorable pieces about Abe don’t even get questioned by the police.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/12/06/national/crime-legal/rape-allegations-high-profile-journalist-dropped-prosecutors-last-year-return-civil-suit/

    Reply
    • And if things couldn’t get any worse, Japanese nationalists are encouraging women who feel disenfranchised by the male dominated system to instead take out their frustrations against NJ!!

      An interesting article here; When Women Perform Hate Speech: Gender, Patriotism, and Social Empowerment in Japan

      https://apjjf.org/2019/11/Kim-Wachutka.html

      And to quote an interesting line from the abstract paragraph:

      “They (Japanese women) discover a sense of legitimate social empowerment aiming to restore “historical truth” and uphold their country’s honor and dignity for their children’s sake.”

      And another quote saying

      “the members of these groups discover a sense of legitimate social empowerment, believing that they are contributing much needed women’s voices to male-dominated conservative, nationalistic movement.”

      From my understanding of the article, feminism in Japan seems to have been perverted and twisted by nationalist elements in order to repress potential mass civic rights movement. One method would be to confuse the public J-public via education and propaganda as to what “women’s empowerment” means as opposed to what it actually is suppose to mean.

      Thus feminism in Japan seems like its not about giving women power, but about keeping the status quo, throw NJ down a rank, and “empowering” J-women to rule over and bully NJ and take out all of their gender related grievances on NJ.

      In the article, J-women who feel disenfranchised by sexism are encouraged by nationalists to attend hate rallies and chant about killing NJ, and sadly many have drank the koolaid thinking falsely thinking that feminism is successful in Japan because hey!, they have just discovered there is someone below them who they can bully and take out all their frustrations on!

      Because by bullying NJ, these J-women who attend hate rallies somehow feel socially “liberated”, and when spouting racist bile, they finally feel their voices are heard.

      The LDP, Nippon Kaigi and the J-nationalists are a real piece of work, perverting a women’s movement into a far right nationalist movement that further encourage bullying and disenfranchisement of NJ rather than actually addressing the many grievances that women have endured and continue to endure under powerful and abusive Japanese men.

      Sakura got turned down for a job, promotion or medical school? Complaints of gender discrimination piling up? No problem! Give Sakura a youtube account, a loud speaker, a 16-rays flag, and a pro-genocide anti-NJ hate speech script. People will cheer and listen to her! Women empowerment! Gender inequality problem solved!!! Because hey, power over NJ is still power right?

      The real Japanese feminists and actual progressive activists on the other hand face a much more grim future as they minimal support and have almost no protection from law enforcement when Japanese nationalists retaliate and are sometimes forced to flee Japan as a result of threats and harassment. Like this case here:

      https://apjjf.org/2018/15/McNeill.html

      The moral of the story? If Japan has a problem and there is public outcry, the go to solution is to blame it on NJ or distract the public into thinking about NJ. Also a snake oil salesman can always get his goods sold as long as xenophobia comes with the package.

      Its kind of like when people buy a tabloid but they know its BS but buy it anyway because of the “hot-girl-of-the-week” on page 21 of the tabloid.

      So even though there are stats that say many people in Japan think Abe and his LDP are full of shit, they vote them anyway because xenophobia sells. That is probably due to the “zero-sum” Japanese logic of thinking that if the LDP makes NJ’s lives miserable, then Japanese daily life will somehow improve.

      So much for the #metoo movement in Japan I guess, so by somehow “empowering” Japanese women, NJ are now reduced to 3rd class citizens as every time they get repressed by an abusive oyaji, it will unfortunately also come down on NJ an doubly hard and triply hard for NJ women. Not to mention NJ women will also be far worse off under Abe’s so called “womenomics”.

      Reply
      • Jim Di Griz says:

        That’s a really interesting link! Thanks for posting!

        A couple of standout quotes;
        ‘In this way, self-proclaimed patriotic women fall in line for the good of the nation and stand by the men who build and defend it.’

        And;
        ‘Patriotic activism gives these women the oppor­tunity to channel their time and energy into a cause that is meaningful to them, granting them a legitimate and authoritative voice and purpose in their community and society.’

        The key takeaways for me:
        This is a very small number of overly-vocal women (less than 5000) who are over represented and therefore have a disproportionate impact on mainstream consciousness.

        They have bought into patriarchal power narratives as a way to achieve some sort of identity and positive feedback, without understanding that by doing so they are undermining the rights of women and NJ in a way that only furthers the patriarchy’s power over them too.

        These women’s lives didn’t turn out the way they hoped, so they are looking for someone to blame. I would suggest that they are not as financially affluent as they hoped to be, otherwise they would have instead invested in ‘dreamy day’ shopping trips and coffee house chats with their other mommy friends.

        Of course, they are privy to secret knowledge; a vast international conspiracy to keep Japan down that has thus far eluded the scrutiny of mainstream media, academics and politicians, and yet is only a few internet clicks away! (Gee, I wonder why?).

        Of course, they justify their self-aggrandizing staged street theatrical displays as ‘protecting the future of ALL Japan’s children’ (don’t bother on my kids account), because they feel guilty about the number of fair-weather days they spend playing revolutionary in the streets when they should be playing with their kids in the park. Way to parent right there!

        Sad women whose lives have no real meaning, found themselves a ‘crusade’ to make up for their unfulfilled dreams.

        Newsflash; the patriarchy doesn’t want to let them wear kimono for the day to enjoy ‘Japan’s beautiful culture’. It wants to take away their vote and human rights. Shut up ‘baby machines’ and get back to the kitchen, I’d wager.

        Reply
      • This is not new. This is very old. Thus it always has been in Japan. The middle aged/old women are the lowest caste-level so in order to feel some sense of power they need, and have been given, the gaijin to insult and denigrate.

        Reply
      • Baudrillard says:

        “Japan think Abe and his LDP are full of shit, they vote them anyway because xenophobia sells. ”
        Only the people can change the people. They voted for that.

        What this means is when your employer or erai hito abuses you or whatever, your J wife will side with them. First happened to me in 1991. Been going on for decades.

        Does love not triumph over nationalism? Not here, it seems. But that’s just my experience.

        Reply
  • AnonymousOG says:

    So Mr. Sugano is the exposé writer who wrote articles about Nippon Kaigi and its links to Abe. 🙂

    Probably Abe said, “Let’s take care of this Sugano before he writes any more exposé articles about us, we’ll frame him for rape just like Julian Assange, all we need is a few liars in our pocket and we’re all set!”

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
      The thing is, Japan’s forced confession hostage ‘justice’ system just makes all cases of confession doubtful. Maybe the guy did it. Maybe he didn’t but he just doesn’t want to go through months of pre-trial detention and interrogation, wait a year for a court date, etc.

      Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, one for the ‘shoe on the other foot’ category;

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48767678

    Japanese scream racism and cultural appropriation because Kim Kardashian West launches a brand of shapewear called ‘Kimono’.
    But hang the hell on, it’s not like she called it ‘着物’ now is it? How many English language words have the japanese butchered by rendering in Katakana and then misusing?
    ゲット(get)する anyone?
    車のハンドル(handle) raise any alarms?
    No?
    I guess it’s only racist if it’s done ‘to them’.
    I’m still waiting for the Italian version of Japan’s Sushi Police to call the whole nation out on its sub-par chains of faux Italian restaurants with a ‘Japanese’ taste.

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Actually, I think this story is a case of fake news manufactured outrage. I can’t find any Japanese language stories about this the pre-date the English language ones. In fact, today I could only find Japanese language stories that were repeating (and giving credit to) English language news primary sources.

      I’m thinking that this story is like the Boston Museum kimono exhibition that was at the center of controversy a couple of years ago after self-appointed social justice warriors (white anglophone Americans) decided it was ‘racist’ for non-Japanese to visit the event and get a photo of themselves in a reproduction of a kimono from a famous painting. A kind of over-compensation for some kind of white guilt that they felt the need to project onto others. IIRC, the Japanese couldn’t understand the controversy and were shocked that the event was shut down; they had been very happy for NJ to enjoy Japan’s beautiful and ‘unique’ kinono culture.

      Reply
    • One of the comments to Kardashian was “my culture is not your plaything”.
      I am afraid it is, especially by hollywood celebs. And what is more, western culture is most certainly Japan’s plaything, look at that racist shop in Harajuku for a start.

      Reply
  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Meanwhile, Team Japan celebrates its emigrants for their contributions (i.e. being Japanese) – essentially praising them for doing what it complains its immigrants do.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/07/12/national/princess-mako-meets-peruvian-president-expresses-gratitude-acceptance-japanese-immigrants/

    The Japanese TV media, particularly the morning infotainment programs were even more so.

    — Any mention of international criminal Alberto Fujimori anywhere?

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Notice they don’t talk about LDP members funding Peruvian government forced sterilization of ethnic minorities. That’s some Japanese contribution to Peruvian society!

      — Best to supply a link for this claim, for good housekeeping.

      Reply
      • Seems like a page out of Unit 731. Alarming that every now and again something like this rears up, suggesting that if you scratch the modern veneer, some Nazi ideas remain.
        We should be watchful.

        Reply
        • Absolutely we should be watchful. But that’s not news, is it?

          The mere fact that an ultra-right wing nutjob like Souno is able to make a living producing books is a testament to the deep, profound nature of racism in Japan.

          Even in the U.S., despite the domestic human rights violations and track record of abusing minorities, a newspaper column suggesting that apartheid is a good idea would never even be published, outside of radical right-wing smut.

          On the other hand, in Japan, this sort of rhetoric is normalized to the point that it not only gets published, it draws essentially no backlash from society. In other words, nobody even really cares much.

          Case in point, about a year ago I noticed ads on JR trains for Souno’s most recent book inside many cars. On my way home from work, I stopped by a JR gate and asked why the railway was publishing ads for a book written by a blatantly racist author who advocates for apartheid in Japan. JR called me back a day later and informed me that the ad met the standards in their advertising guidelines. When I asked if they would be willing to advertise for an author who was, say, a murderer, they balked and told me they couldn’t say.

          Think about it. Anywhere else in the modern civilized world, despite all the continuous systematic human rights abuses we see everywhere, a lunatic as blatant and shameless as Souno would be regarded as a social pariah for her blatant racist diatribes. That Japanese society completely overlooks and ignores her extremist racist hogwash is very much a bellwether.

          Reply
          • Jim Di Griz says:

            Err, yeah.
            Except for the part where she is a member of s group that includes Japanese policy makers that has been conducting racially motivated sterilizations in Peru. And since the masses are unaware of this (even Princess Mako herself), don’t see the hypocrisy in lauding ‘japanese contributions to Peru’.
            It seems you didn’t read the link?

    • And Japan’s role in training the Myanmar army in massacres- Read between the lines here
      “Western human rights groups question the impartiality of the panel. Myanmar, for its part, hopes that Japan will play a role in enhancing the body’s credibility. Japan may also serve as a check on the military since the countries have close ties in defense areas, including training.”
      https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Myanmar-taps-Japan-connections-to-overcome-Rohingya-crisis

      Reply

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