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Hi Blog. Long-time readers of this venue know that I surrender to no-one in terms of criticizing the GOJ in its handling of NJ residents, especially in how they treat taxpaying long-term residents on par with (or even value less than) foreign tourists.
That said, an image sent to me by a number of people has been this:
Now, I’m not sure where this screenshot is coming from (Debito.org Reader MF has noted that it came from the Fuji TV network itself), but the chyron would indicate that this government panel is saying that “Foreigners have different languages and customs, so we can’t thoroughly enforce policies against the spread of [Covid] infections.” By implication, this means that foreigners are being seen as an obstacle to the safety of Japanese society because of their differences. This image is starting to multiply around the media sphere, for example https://www.facebook.com/memesugoi/posts/1032954460504017, which is why people are sending it to me.
However, news network FNN has a different take. Debito.org Reader JLO submitted the following video:
FNN says, at minute 1:30, “Bunkakai de wa, kurasutaa e no taiou ya, kotoba no chigai de soudan ya jushin ga okureru gaikokujin no tame ni ichigenteki na soudan madoguchi o setchi suru koto ni tsuite giron shiteimasu.”
Or (my translation):
“At this panel, they are debating about whether to set up a unified consultation center to deal with clusters and with foreigners and who face delayed medical consultations and treatments due to language differences.” Screen capture:
That’s quite a different take from that other chyron! According to FNN, this panel seems to be trying to assist, not exclude or blame.
I welcome others who find more clarifying media about this event. Meanwhile, my point is to be careful. Foreigners have been so perpetually offset and treated as exceptions from the regular population that this could reflexively feel like a repeat performance. But let’s be careful that this reflex does not lead to disinformation. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
UPDATE NOV 14:
Ph.D. Candidate Anoma van der Veere has kindly tweeted out his research indicating some media sensationalism is going on here. Access the thread beginning at https://twitter.com/anomav/status/1327117586249568256?s=21&fbclid=IwAR0gIPlDs9K6X8tH87UWEuafZDYEM9XrgLobf7LI2luRRJgnStztEdka9n4
(Courtesy of JLO). Screen captures follow, for the record. Debito
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25 comments on “Unknown news chyron of Govt panel that apparently blames foreigners for spreading Covid. However, FNN News tells a different story: one of assisting foreigners. Let’s be careful to avoid disinformation (UPDATED).”
So now Japanese policy makers are trying to balance a ‘NJ residents bad, NJ Olympics visitors good!’ message.
Watch how this confuses some (and others don’t get the memo) as Japan’s defacto herd-immunity to ‘save’ the economy policy bears fruit that policy makers seek to avoid responsibility for.
They’ve dug themselves a hole;
Olympics brown envelopes of tax payers cash V’s managing a public health crisis, and of course, disenfranchised NJ residents without a voice are being scapegoated and the Japanese public will lap it up rather than accepting the personal responsibility for not demanding better of their elected officials since that would interfere with their daily ‘dreamy day’ fantasy.
It’s the same old story; a clash of narratives. Japan desperately wants recognition as being internationally relevant and tries to host these events, whilst at the same time hates the guests it will have to host and hates the international norms it wants to be respected for pretending to share.
Left hand, meet right hand.
Here comes a prooflink. Have fun. https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/a3027de2037c624529d8a354b22156f5a91ecb1c
イベント緩和 2021年2月に先送り 映画館は12月“条件付き解禁”
2020 11/12(木) 17:03配信
To be fair, it is definitely true that Americans and Europeans (not “foreigners”, mind you — most foreigners in Japan are not westerners) have a cultural tendency not to wear masks. That “culture” has changed somewhat in America and Europe over the last nine months or so, but there are definitely still more “anti-maskers” in those countries than in Japan. One is currently occupying the White House.
Well, this whole corona crisis has really shown what can happen in this country when things aren’t going well. Aka, an increase in anti-foreigner sentiment.
I’m from Australia – more specifically Western Australia where out of a population of about 2.5 million there have so far despite rigorous testing, there have been fewer than 800 cases and only 9 deaths.
Screw these “experts” and their Meji-esque “nihonjinron”.
This article explains it well.
I couldn’t find an English translation, though.
日本経済新聞 2020年11月13日 20:56 (2020年11月14日 6:04 更新) ［有料会員限定記事］
CNN just ran a segment where a Japanese medical expert living the UK said that Japan wasn’t doing enough testing nor enough to stop Covid ‘crossing its borders’ for the Olympics to be safely held.
Maybe Japan should build a wall?
Japanese government says ‘Not all foreign residents should be blamed’ for the rise in Covid infections recently, and then goes on to literally blame all NJ for their living conditions, cultures, and languages. Disgusting racist scapegoating by a government that carries out a domestic tourism incentive scheme during a once in a century pandemic. Angry mobs dispensing vigilante ‘justice’ next? (Like after the Great Kanto Earthquake?)
Interesting that the article writer thinks the government was being ‘measured’ and ‘careful with its words’ to avoid discrimination, when that is exactly what they report the government as saying. Frightening.
And this is the result of the Japanese government scapegoating NJ;
“I can feel at ease as it is possible to avoid going near foreigners when I notice them,”
Brazilians in Japan worried about rising prejudice after COVID-19 infection disclosure
December 1, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)
PHOTO: Mario Makuda, right, is seen talking to children about a poster that calls for novel coronavirus prevention measures, such as avoiding the “three Cs” of confined spaces, crowded places and close contact, at a Brazilian school in the eastern Japan town of Ora, Gunma Prefecture on Nov. 6, 2020. (Mainichi/Masahiro Ogawa)
TOKYO — Concerns about becoming the target of prejudice are rising among Brazilian residents in a Gunma Prefecture town, northwest of Tokyo, after novel coronavirus infections among foreigners were announced.
Foreign nationals account for around 20% of the 42,000 residents in the town of Oizumi, located in the southern part of Gunma Prefecture, on the opposite side of the Tone River from neighboring Saitama Prefecture. Of such foreign residents, some 4,600 Brazilians live in the area — the largest in number.
In early November, Mario Makuda, a 48-year-old second-generation Japanese-Brazilian, hung up a poster written in Portuguese that called on people to avoid the “three Cs” of confined spaces, crowded places and close contact at a Brazilian food store set up along the prefectural road in Gunma. Makuda said, “If something bad happens, the blame is placed on Brazilians. I want people to know that we are taking thorough (coronavirus prevention) measures.”
An unforgettable incident for Makuda happened in mid-September when coronavirus infections saw a resurgence in Gunma Prefecture. Gunma Gov. Ichita Yamamoto announced in a press conference that among the 90 new infections recorded in the recent week, those thought to be foreign nationals reached about 70%, and that “it appears that especially those from Peru and Brazil comprise a majority.” The governor went on to reveal in a press conference the following week that about 80% of newly infected people were foreigners.
The details of the press conference were spread among Brazilian residents of the town instantaneously through word-of-mouth and other means. A 30-year-old Japanese-Brazilian woman, who works as a dispatch worker at a factory in the town of Oizumi, expressed strong concern and said, “Everyone suspects that we might be infected. I’m worried that my child will be bullied at elementary school.” She said that she immediately checked with her child, but there had apparently been no problems at school.
A 38-year-old Japanese-Brazilian man, who is also a dispatch worker, showed his confusion by saying, “It’s just that there happened to be foreigners that contracted the virus, and infections spread. It’s a bit sad when people point the finger at foreigners.”
Meanwhile, there have been some Japanese residents who voiced approval of the announcement, including a 72-year-old man who said, “I can feel at ease as it is possible to avoid going near foreigners when I notice them,” and a 28-year-old woman who commented, “It is better if the notices are issued if there are such trends.”
Makuda still has lingering doubts surrounding whether the ratio of infected foreigners should have been disclosed. The novel coronavirus exposed the underlying prejudice of residents, and unmasked the invisible wall between Japanese and foreign nationals.
(Japanese original by Naoko Furuyashiki, Business News Department and Kosuke Hatta, Foreign News Department)
Japanese version (excerpt):
第１部 くらしの風景 外国人への偏見あらわ
(rest behind paywall)
Thanks for sharing that, Jim.
Most telling is that the person who made the comment about avoiding going near “foreigners” (=minorities) is 28 years old.
So much for the younger generation being more “open-minded.”
They might not be blaming foreign communities, but I bet community nurses are not going to temples to teach people how to wear masks and wash their hands – that’s just reserved for mosques no doubt:
This is the real story here.
LDP vested interests have been looking to cash in on the olympics, and them and their buddies have invested in the tourism infrastructure (hotels etc) that they thought would boom.
Now all that’s in doubt, but they still want their profits.
So the refuse to take the measures needed to seriously address the pandemic because the ‘economic damage’ would hit THEIR pockets;
So, they continue to prioritize the economy;
When what they really mean is ‘continue to funnel tax ¥ to vested interests’;
Whilst advising over 65s to stay at home;
Which is nice and all, but ignores the fact that the risk isn’t old people going out and getting sick, as much as it is asymptomatic young people going out and infecting old people.
How do we know this? Because Japan has restrictive requirements that prevent asymptomatic people from getting tests;
But we know that when groups of young people who appear healthy are given tests (which right now only means ‘sports teams’), suddenly we have untraceable clusters appearing!
Which would indicate that due to untested asymptomatic spread, the real numbers of COVID infections in Japan are much higher than we are told.
With only around 11% of deaths in Japan getting autopsies due to lack of trained staff and cultural factors, I guess the ‘pre-existing conditions’ are being cited as cause of death;
But we won’t know the stats because Japan doesn’t publish things like pneumonia death rates on an annual basis.
It’s going to be a problem after new year when all those asymptomatic young people in Tokyo go home and infect their elderly relatives.
The projections for the next 28 days for Japan by google analytics is frightening;
But already (like HIV and other health scares) the false narrative is out there;
It’s foreigners who have coronavirus!
It’s literally the powers that be stealing money out of taxpayers pockets whilst shouting ‘Look! Gaijin!’ to distract them.
Look what’s in the news today;
Bank of Japan invests money that belongs to the country (taxpayers) in the stock market in order to artificially pump up the stock value of Japan’s stagnant companies, all just so that politicians can tell you Japan is booming (and those that own stocks can enjoy the increase in asset value). Ordinary japanese, not so much.
It’s a bubble, and when it pops, all that money taxpayers still have to pay for, will be gone.
BTW, am I the only one that thinks Japan is delaying approval of Coronavirus vaccinations to give Japanese labs a chance to reverse-engineer them so that a Japanese company can get a pork-barrel contract to manufacture?
The UK, despite developing a vaccine domestically, is starting with the Pfizer one next week. Japan’s vaccination program is still at the ‘discussion stage’.
Ah, here it is. Japanese company signs deal to make someone else’s vaccine on the public dime. Jobs saved, brown envelopes stuffed with cash.
Who’s been spreading covid?
I just want to lay it all out in the open so that this ‘NJ are spreading covid’ narrative can be seen for what it is- BS.
Go To Travel campaign benefits which businesses? Tourism and hospitality. Oh look, see who’s been chairman of the Japan Tourism Association for the last 30 years! Why yes, it’s the leader of the largest LDP faction and PM ‘kingmaker’ Toshihiro Nikai!
No wonder there have been such desperate pains to extend this scheme and protect it from criticism by the government- there’s a trail of brown paper envelopes out there that ends with Nikai and the LDP (including Suga) have been too scared of him to stop it.
But wait! The government’s response to Covid it being criticized and Suga’s popularity is dropping. He *has* to do something!
Immediate survival instinct prompts him to suspend Go To Travel:
Hmm. Seems Suga is more scared of the LDP rank and file stabbing him in the back and replacing him as his public approval rating drops, than he is scared of Nikai threatening what he can do to him if the free money taps aren’t turned back on.
Seems like Nikai’s bluff has been called, or he made one threat too many. ‘Someone’ in the PM’s office starts ‘briefing against’ Nikai;
Of course, Nikai didn’t get where he was today without knowing how the game works. ‘Someone’ (ooh! I can’t even guess who!) tipped of the media that Suga was breaking Covid restrictions to have an end of year party with LDP chums, causing no end of embarrassment (notably, Nikai was at the event giving him an alibi).
Who knows how this will play out?
I was only thinking the other day that since Suga stepped up, I haven’t heard a peep from Aso, Konno, Kishida, Ishiba, nor any other wannabe PM, they’re all staying well away from the public AND the public eye until Suga takes the fall for Go To damaging public health.
The important point is this- Go To was never about helping business, it was a function of kleptocracy at the expense of public health, and the scapegoat was NJ. Don’t be fooled, the ‘erai hito’ are spending this crisis working out how to steal from public coffers, extend political power, and distract everyone while they are doing it.
Suga is the commoner, so the fall guy. Its Theresa May all over again; let them handle the difficult crisis, while the other wannabe PMs wait in the shadows until they screw up.
“There was plenty of distance from other people, but I am sincerely reflecting on having caused a misunderstanding,” Suga told reporters Wednesday. He added he is taking the situation seriously ……
The misunderstanding the Erai Hito can do what they want unlike everyone else? Or the misunderstandng that he, Suga, is by attaining leadership of LDP, “One of the Aristocracy” like blueblood Abe?
Magdalena Osumi writes another excellent article on discrimination by J-Gov towards NJ residents re: re-entry during the pandemic;
Japanese politicians largely unaware that NJ ‘reside’ in Japan and their re-entry (or lack thereof) was ‘an issue’. Therefore, policy makers never discussed it.
When international pressure was applied, the Japanese government was trapped by the ‘NJ= danger’ narrative that it has been peddling since forever; despite the vast majority of imported cases being Japanese nationals re-entering Japan, politicians were in fear of a public backlash over letting ‘dangerous NJ’ back in.
This in turn was a result of Japanese government taking insufficient measures to test and quarantine infected at airports, and an inability to take any meaningful action to require Japanese nationals to stop traveling nor follow procedures to prevent spread. Concealing this lack of desire to incur the displeasure of the public meant it was easier to blame NJ. All 100,000 of them trapped overseas.
In other news…
The Digital Transformation Minister (who proudly boasts he has never used a computer) is now planning to set up a GPS tracking app that all NJ arrivals will be required to download and use as a requirement for entry, in order (ostensibly) to stop the Covid outbreak in Japan (again, lucky the Japanese are 100% immune, right?).
Despite playing into counterproductive NJ=danger narratives, please note that this is aimed to be launched in the summer (in time for the -eyeroll- Olympics) when surely the only NJ travelers would have been vaccinated (BTW, Japan still hadn’t approved any vaccination, nor decided any schedule- after all, who would want to visit a country where the locals aren’t being vaccinated?).
Also, please note that the police could already track phones if they wanted too, so this isn’t so much a ‘development of technology’ issue, but rather an issue of creating the consensus and societal expectation/norm, that NJ will be tracked legally in real time, 24/7, because, y’know, NJ=danger.
By the time this is rolled out in the summer, either Japan’s pandemic will be too far out of control for it to matter, or NJ will be well into their vaccination programs.
NJ residents might want to start contacting their embassies and asking if they can get vaccinated.
And the result of this NJ blaming for Covid spread by the J-government? This(
‘Of those who opposed holding the games this summer, 83.4% said the events would bring many people to Japan from around the world, leading to a further spread of the virus’.
Gaijin spread the virus narrative giving Suga a way out of taking blame for canceling the Olympics.
Jim, this is the fitting conclusion to the whole J saga of these Fukushima Olympics.
1. Corruption and collusion gets Japan the Olympics? Check.
2. Pride and Prejudice? Check.
3. Massive Pork barrel project? Check.
4. Fuelled by J Nationalism at odds with common sense and economic downturn? Check.
5. In denial about Fukushima risks? Check.
Curtis Knapp, a photographer who often came to Japan once said, “Japan is a meeting, then a meeting, then a meeting, then a meeting, then a meeting, then finally, a cancel.
The story of the non Olympics 2020 is just so Japan.
And look where the ‘blaming NJ for covid’ narrative has got us today;
‘ But the Japan Medical Association’s president raised the alarm last week over the possibility of overseas visitors coming for the Games.
Toshio Nakagawa said that, under current conditions, it would be “impossible” to admit to hospital any foreign visitor who caught coronavirus at the Games.’
Tomorrow it’ll be ‘impossible to admit to hospital any foreign residents even though they pay health insurance as a legal obligation’? Oh, wait, it’s already impossible to admit to hospital Japanese who caught Coronavirus;
‘Japan coronavirus surge leaves 15,000 on waiting lists for beds’.
But still government hoping 10,000 doctors and nurses can volunteer for five days at the Olympics. SMGDH.
If you want to see a disaster in the making read about the Australian Open Tennis fiasco.
Of more than 1200 players, coach and officials to fly into Australia ahead of the Australian Open, 72 were forced into hard quarantine after being aboard flights with confirmed positive coronavirus cases.
So a lot more athletes, coaches, supporters from all over the world are coming to Japan for the Olympic games? Some contracted it on the planes, some had it before they came, some tested and found out after arriving and didnt know they had it. What a debacle. So Japan is going to let in all these people from all over and make them quarantine for 14 days BEFORE they even get to compete? No way! The Olympic village where the athletes love to hook up with each other between events will become a jail. How is Japan going to do this? The answer is they cant and they wont.
Aha! The mask slips. THIS is why blaming foreigners for covid in Japan is ‘a thing’;
‘ The government is developing a contract tracing app for attendees using GPS that will reportedly link visas, proof of test results, tickets and other information, authorities said.’
Sure, track and trace app for visiting NJ would make sense as a covid countermeasure IF the wider Japanese population was also doing it! But they’re not. In fact, Japan has given up on ‘track and trace’;
‘spend much less time pursuing contact history for what it described as the second most cluster-prone demographic — namely, kindergarten, day care and school teachers — and would completely stop investigating others.’
Completely stop investigating others.
But hey, why not use the situation to make an issue of NJ overstaying their visas? That old scare tactic. I don’t know why the LDP are so fixated on it. Most overstayers come from poor countries with the intention to overstay and work as undocumented workers in KKK jobs that Japanese companies can’t find Japanese staff for. C’mon Japan, admit your economy actually needs these people.
And stop kidding yourself that Japan is just, well, so gosh darn wonderful, the worlds best kept secret, and that visitors who have around $10k for the total costs of a holiday to the Olympics will have their eyes so opened by Japan’s exceptional amazingness that they will turn their backs on their well paying jobs, mortgages, families, and their lives back home because the lure of being an undocumented worker in Japan is just SO APPEALING! Get real, get over yourselves.
Obviously, it’s just a matter of time until the Japanese demand all NJ are 24/7 tracked legally in real time with an automated alert popping up on some koban monitor the minute their visas expire. That ought to end that nefarious den of crime right there! Whew.
“Please show up no more than 5 days before your event and leave within 48 hours after your last event, Oh, and dont come in contact with anyone while you are here. We will make sure you abide by our wonderful regulations by having you upload this track and trace app on your phone.”
Is nt that great. Somehow I dont think this is going to work. Maybe some people will abide by these requests, but really, how can you expect a runner from Sierre Leon whose highlight of his whole life will be to represent his country in the Olympics. Can you really expect them to go back to the rest of his life on the farm, and have to tell his friends and relatives when they ask: “What did you see and do while you were in Japan? Well, I didnt get to see much or do anything.” You think this is going to work? Its beyond even most of these peoples wildest dreams to be able to go to a place like Japan and the lucky one who gets to go (and is expected to re-live vicariously for all of them) and tell what he experienced and did while he was there. The entire village will be very disappointed at the very least, and probably do other bad things to this person for the rest of their life at the most.
Do they realistically expect a track and field athlete from Norway not to hook up with that cute swimmer from Argentina when they have the chance? No. Its not going to go the way the officials and Japanese public want it to go. Come here and give us a good show foreign person, pay homage to our wonderful country, and not do anything else, stay in your room, dont interact with anybody, and go home as soon as possible, oh! and dont forget your mask and shots. Somehow I just dont see this going as planned unless they make it a criminal offense and lock people up for the duration. Im sure that will go over big.
I dont remember the title of the movie, but I think it was Harrison Ford who when he realized they kept finding him by tracking his phone, threw it in the back of a moving dump truck. I am sure a cheap enough phone can be gotten for this, even for somebody from Sri Lanka.
— Wasn’t the movie “Frantic”?