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Table of Contents:
1) Justice Ministry’s new “Gaijin Card Reader App” now unlawfully enables the general public to scan you. So much for GOJ promises of privacy.
2) NHK: Ibaraki Public Health Center targets foreigners as vectors of Coronavirus, then retracts discriminatory claims as “misleading” and “inappropriate”
3) Mainichi Editorial: Foreign workers would also serve roles as consumers, taxpayers. Bravo. It needs to be said by somebody in the Wajin media
4) Celebrating 15 Years of the Blog (June 17, 2006-2021)

…and finally…
5) My SNA Visible Minorities column 22: “Interrogating the Discriminatory Covid Self-Quarantine Scandal”, May 17, 2021

By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (,, Twitter @arudoudebito) Newsletters are as always freely forwardable


1) Justice Ministry’s new “Gaijin Card Reader App” now unlawfully enables the general public to scan you. So much for GOJ promises of privacy.

The Ministry of Justice has made a “Residence Card Checker App”, available from December 25, 2020, downloadable from their website (English, Japanese). It’s available for Windows PC, Apple Mac App Store, Google Play, and iOS (with manuals!). It scans RFID Zairyuu Cards, aka “Gaijin Cards”, which is personal ID required of foreign residents only, and must be carried 24/7 on pain of criminal penalty. In their words, “This app reads and displays the information (such as the bearer’s name) stored on the IC chips of residence cards and special permanent resident certificates, helping users to confirm that the card is not a forgery.”

How nice. Except that the only people allowed to demand, let alone scan, Gaijin Cards are people connected with the Ministry of Justice (Immigration, the police, etc.). This has now unlawfully put the ability to read private information within the general public’s grasp. Such as people posing as fake cops (which does happen). It’s not that far removed from the government “snitch sites” where anyone could anonymously report their local gaijin to the government and have them harassed, er, investigated by local authorities. (They’ve since disappeared after nearly two decades in action, so this is a new form of potential harassment.) will archive below the sites in English and Japanese for the record, with some screen captures. Especially enjoy reading the Privacy Policy, especially since one initial reason why the government advertised that the RFID card was a better system was due to privacy (and “convenience”)–random people wouldn’t be able to read the embedded information. Now they can. Where is the outcry over “privacy concerns” that Japanese citizens enjoy whenever the government makes personal ID policy affecting them?

2) NHK: Ibaraki Public Health Center targets foreigners as vectors of Coronavirus, then retracts discriminatory claims as “misleading” and “inappropriate”

Tokyo Reporter: A health center in Itako City this week retracted an “inappropriate” advisory that stated foreigners are the source of an increase in novel coronavirus infections, reports NHK (May 22). On May 19 and 20, the Itako Health Center distributed the notice by email to agricultural cooperatives and city halls within its jurisdiction. The document stated, “There are many coronavirus patients likely infected by foreigners.” It advised, “If you talk to a foreigner, wear a mask. As well, please do not eat with them.”

On May 21, the health center and the Ibaraki Prefectural Infectious Disease Control Division retracted the document. “The document’s content was inappropriate,” they said. “Though we had no intention of discriminating against foreigners,” the Itako Health Center told NHK, “we are sorry if any of the expressions were misleading.”

COMMENT: “Misleading”?! “Inappropriate”?! “Unintentional”?! How about unscientific and discriminatory, especially for an official bureau safeguarding public health that should know better. But given what we know at about Japan’s constant “Blame Game”, used to distract from official policy errors and scapegoat Non-Japanese for just about anything, we could see it coming. The bigger surprise is how quickly NHK jumped on this so quickly and got it retracted. Media watchdogs are supposed to look out for the general public, including Non-Japanese Residents. Please get ready to do more of the same in future.


3) Mainichi Editorial: Foreign workers would also serve roles as consumers, taxpayers. Bravo. It needs to be said by somebody in the Wajin media

Mainichi Editorial in 2018: Important viewpoints are apparently lacking in discussions on accepting more foreign workers to Japan. The discourse treats foreigners only as a “workforce” to alleviate labor shortages, and fails to shed light on a variety of other roles they can play. Boosting the workforce is a vital challenge for the Japanese economy. Seeking people from overseas when labor-saving measures alone are not enough is a natural response to the reality. But foreigners working in Japan can contribute more than labor to Japanese society. This point should not be overlooked.

First of all, they are also consumers [in a depopulating workforce]. Foreign workers will push up housing and educational spending, like Japanese households do, when they live in Japan with their family members for longer periods of time. Moreover, their wide-ranging needs can be expected to create new products and services and even lead to new jobs.

Another important role that foreigners can play is paying taxes. They pay income tax when they work, and they shoulder the consumption tax as Japanese do in the course of their daily lives… [If we choose to invite] long-term settlers with family members to increase their income and spending… we need to make necessary preparations, and make corresponding commitments. This means exploring ways to benefit both foreign workers and the Japanese economy.


4) Celebrating 15 Years of the Blog (June 17, 2006-2021)

June 17, 2021 celebrates 15 years since the Blog went live. (The Website as a whole, however, went live in 1996, and we celebrated that quarter-century of online activism earlier this year in a separate post.) The Blog was created in addition after a friend named Jim suggested that a WordPress template would make things a lot easier for me to respond to and archive daily events in real time. He was right.

As of today, in addition to the original Website (which is still up, of course; artery site here), as of this morning the Blog alone has 2,935 individual posts by me (amounting to 16,703 pages) and 34,737 individual comments (of which only 862, or less than 2.5%, are mine). That’s about one post every two days on average, and about 12 comments per post.

That’s an active blog by many definitions, and still going strong. And materials archived here been cited in various newspapers, journals, and books. People take it seriously. Long may it continue. While I’m limiting myself to posting here about once a week (I’ve got other writing projects), I don’t see myself giving up the Project anytime, ever. By now, it’s just what I do.


…and finally…
5) My SNA Visible Minorities column 22: “Interrogating the Discriminatory Covid Self-Quarantine Scandal”, May 17, 2021

SNA (Tokyo) — Sometimes government-designed policies lack sense. Or, in places where the government is as unaccountable as Japan’s, policymakers ignore cautions—-or don’t get cautioned at all because a docile mass media is mobilized behind a national goal. So when things go wrong, very bad things can happen, especially when punishments for noncompliance only go one way and hurt innocent people.

That is what’s in the cards yet again with Japan’s Covid border controls. The current policy is that if you are a resident of Japan returning from overseas, you face a mandatory self-quarantine system. Everyone, regardless of nationality, signs must notify the authorities of their current location each day. If not, authorities will contact them via Skype, WhatsApp video call, or by voice cell phone number.

If you are found to be breaking quarantine as a Japanese, you get your name exposed to the public. However, foreign residents will lose everything—their lives, livelihoods, and anything they ever invested in Japan—by getting deported. So with punishments this disproportionate, the government had better make sure nothing goes wrong. Guess what? Things are going wrong, and it’s the government’s fault…

Rest is at
Anchor site for comments at


That’s all for this month! We have relatively few posts this month because I’ve been working on a big writing project over the past four months. More on that soon. Thanks for reading!

Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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22 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 21, 2021

  • Here we go again, another local government that posts discriminatory illustrations of immigrants in order to combat visa violations. Thankfully it has been taken down, but I think that this is just the beginning. Since the „card checker“ app has been released, which basically allows every Japanese citizen to illegally scan your residency card, I except that more local goverments, the police and even private companies will start to promote such anti-foreigner sentiments.

    Central Japan pref. removes illustration labeled discriminatory against foreigners
    June 29, 2021 (Mainichi Japan)

    The illustration posted by Mie Prefectural Police on the prefectural government website regarding illicit employment and illegal stays by foreigners is seen. (Image courtesy of parties concerned)

    TSU — The Mie Prefectural Government has removed an illustration from its website containing statistics and educational information on the prevention of illegal employment and illegal stays by foreigners, after receiving complaints from outsiders that it promotes discrimination against foreigners, the Mainichi Shimbun learned on June 28.

    The statistics and educational content, including the illustration, were prepared by Mie Prefectural Police. The illustration depicts three foreign nationals who either have no residency status or are falsely pretending to have a “cook” or “study abroad” visa status while working as construction workers or hostesses.

    According to the prefectural police, the illustration was internally available and was used for public relations purposes.

    When posts critical of the illustration spread on social media on June 26, comments such as “It’s based on a discriminatory mindset against foreigners and is too much” and “I feel it’s malicious” followed. On the other hand, some people said, “It’s natural because they’re criminals” and “It’s not discrimination against foreigners.”

    The prefectural police concluded, “We used an easy-to-understand illustration assuming someone who violated the law, but if even one person feels uncomfortable, it was not appropriate.” The prefectural government consequently removed the illustration on June 26.

    Kyoko Wada, representative director of Iga no Tsutamaru, a nonprofit organization in the prefectural city of Iga that supports foreign residents, said, “Illicit employment and illegal stays are of course legal violations, but there are also people who overstay their visas for various reasons. It is hard to understand why this illustration was used, as it could lead to discrimination by generalizing the situation with a fear-inducing picture.”

    (Japanese original by Yuka Asahina, Tsu Bureau)
    Japanese version

    外国人差別「助長」イラスト 三重県警のHP、批判受け削除
    毎日新聞 2021/6/29 東京朝刊



    この記事は有料記事です。 残り358文字(全文596文字)

  • “ it could lead to discrimination by generalizing the situation with a fear-inducing picture.”

    How is that a fear-inducing picture? Happy foreigners. Working at jobs.

    • Jaocnanoni says:

      I’d call the way how their faces are drawn a mean grin, not a happy smile. So, yeah, I think it can induce or strengthen fear in people, especially in those who’ve a questionable opinion about NJ already.

  • So I just read these two mainichi articles which just further validate my suspicion that democracy and human rights are basically dead in Japan.

    The first one is about former PM Abe who claims that people opposing the Olympics are „anti-Japanese“

    Kinda reminds me of China and North Korea, where everyone not supporting the government is labeled as anti-Chinese/Korean. His quotes also revel the truth about the Olympics: „ Speaking on the significance of the Olympics, Abe said that people being moved together when Japanese athletes win medals and perform amazing feats leads to “mutual confirmation of the bonds between Japanese people. He stressed there was “historical significance in Japan making the games a success as a country believing in freedom and democracy.“

    This is just hilarious. He basically admits that the only reason Japan is hosting the Oympics is nationalism and the only important thing is that Japanese athletes win as much medals as possible in order to create some special bond between Japanese people. Then he talks about Japan being a democratic country, while simultaneously calling everyone who‘s opposing the Olympics anti-Japanese. Comedy gold.

    The second article is about Wishma Sandamali.

    Apparently immigration officials told the doctor that she was just faking her illness in order to gain temporary release. The doctor believed this of course and therefore just let her die.

    You can bet that there will be no consequences for this. Neither the doctor, nor the immigration official will go to jail for this. Since this is just another dead „gaijin“, nothing will be done.

    First Mainichi article:

    Ex-PM Abe says ‘anti-Japan’ people are strongly opposing Tokyo Olympics
    July 3, 2021 (Mainichi Japan)

    TOKYO — Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized those opposing Japan’s hosting of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in a magazine piece, saying people tagged as being anti-Japan are now intensely criticizing the games.

    “People who have been criticized by some as anti-Japan because of their historical perceptions and other views are now strongly opposing staging the Olympics,” Abe said in a discussion published in the current edition of monthly magazine Hanada. As specific examples, Abe cited the Japanese Communist Party and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which called for the games to be cancelled in an editorial in May.

    Speaking on the significance of the Olympics, Abe said that people being moved together when Japanese athletes win medals and perform amazing feats leads to “mutual confirmation of the bonds between Japanese people.” He stressed there was “historical significance in Japan making the games a success as a country believing in freedom and democracy,” adding that Japan had “a responsibility” to do so. As for why opposition parties have criticized the hosting of the games, he said, “They probably feel displeasure about the Olympics being successful in Japan.”

    Regarding the heated stance taken by Yukio Edano, head of the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, during a party leader’s debate with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on June 9, Abe said, “He really hates it when his plan (for a speech) crumbles.” He added, “Some people take the view that he’s really narcissistic, so he can’t stand it when he’s criticized.” Abe said that when he was prime minister, Edano “had a tendency to avoid interactive debate, starting and ending with criticism.”

    The former prime minister’s comments appeared in the magazine as part of a dialogue with journalist Yoshiko Sakurai.

    (Japanese original by Ryuko Tadokoro, Political News Department)

    安倍前首相「反日的な人が五輪開催に強く反対」 月刊誌の対談に
    毎日新聞 2021/7/3





    Second Mainichi article:

    Japan immigration may have misled doctor who saw Sri Lankan detainee 2 days before death
    July 3, 2021 (Mainichi Japan)

    NAGOYA — Immigration bureau officials here may have misled a doctor examining a detained Sri Lankan woman into thinking she could be feigning illness to get temporary release, her bereaved sisters reportedly heard during a July 2 meeting with the doctor.

    Wishma Sandamali, who was detained at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau, died aged 33 just two days after the psychiatrist saw her. The same doctor has told her sisters that immigration services informed them, “Around the time her supporters told her she could get temporary release if she got sick, she started developing psychosomatic symptoms.”

    The doctor reportedly concluded that, based on the bureau employees’ explanation, she was possibly feigning illness.

    Her supporters have denied telling her that getting sick could lead to her release, and said, “It is very serious that erroneous information was presented that swayed a doctor’s judgment.”

    On July 2, a group including Wishma’s sisters Wayomi, 28, and Poornima, 27, and their legal representative Shoichi Ibusuki spoke to reporters after a face-to-face meeting with a psychiatrist at Nagoya Ekisaikai Hospital. They said they would visit the Immigration Services Agency and find the truth.

    According to Ibusuki and others, the doctor said that if they hadn’t been given the verbal explanation from the immigration bureau, they “wouldn’t have suspected (Wishma’s) illness was an act.”

    They also said they had been told that the bureau had already had a physician run tests on Wishma that turned up nothing, which allegedly led them to seek a psychiatric diagnosis.

    The doctor also described Wishma’s condition on the day they saw her, reportedly telling the group, “Although I’d been told her physical health was fine, she looked exhausted and weak.”

    Despite the doctor telling immigration bureau officials her condition would be better if she were temporarily released, the officials reportedly responded that they would look at the examination results.

    The events the doctor described were not included in an interim report by the Immigrations Services Agency. Yasunori Matsui, an advisor at support organization Start, which gave aid to Wishma, said angrily, “We did not make the statements that the doctor has described. They were arbitrary assumptions by the immigration bureau.”

    The Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau has said it will “refrain from comment” to reporters.

    On the same day, Wishma’s sisters met with prosecutors at the Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office who are investigating the case. While there, they asked for a swift examination of what happened.

    (Japanese original by Shinichiro Kawase, Nagoya News Bureau)

    入管、誤った情報伝えたか スリランカ女性死亡2日前受診の医師に
    毎日新聞 2021/7/2






    • Anonymous2 says:

      The Abe interview is depressing, but remember that he doesn’t necessarily represent every person in Japan. Over half of people in Tokyo are “anti-Japanese” according to his definition.

      • I never said that he represents every person in Japan, but he’s literally the longest serving PM in Japanese history, which means that a lot of Japanese people voted for him and his party over and over again. And this is not the first time he or some other LDP member said, or did something undemocratic. Calling people who disagree with the government “anti-Japanese” is a century old tradition of Japanese right wingers and the LDP. Meanwhile the only ones being anti-Japanese are the LDP since they’re exposing all residents of Japan to the virus, because of greed and nationalism. But according to LDP logic, only foreigners can get infected, so everything will be daijoubu as long as foreign spectators will stay banned (even though a lot of them are already vaccinated, while Japanese spectators aren’t).

        • Anonymous2 says:

          I agree with most of what you said! Only caveat: I don’t think they believe that only foreigners can be infected, rather I think they think or know that blaming foreigners for things like the virus “works” with a decently sized portion of the public.

        • Baudrillard says:

          The non LDP parties need to reclaim the 60s narrative that the LDP were anti Japanese puppets by slavishly renewing the Anpo treaty with the USA. (another crime of Nobusuke Kishi, the monster 満州の妖怪 of Manchukuo, but I digress).
          Somehow its got twisted around.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      It’s not just Abe calling those opposed to the Olympics ‘anti-Japanese’, here’s J-police confronting a bunch old middle-aged people exercising their democratic right to protest (against the Olympics).
      The police are telling them they are ‘Damaging the interests of Japan’!
      Fascist police state.

  • Joacnanoni says:

    South Asian Muslim mother and her three year old daughter harassed by a Japanese man, insulting her and demanding to see her gaijin card, then calls the cops who showed up with six (!) officers and harassed her and her daughter further with intrusive questioning, according to this article.

    40代ムスリム女性に警察官が不当聴取 都公安委に苦情申し出
    [日刊スポーツ 2021年7月6日1時3分]






      • Jim Di Griz says:

        Hang on…
        This NJ woman goes to the local park with her 3 year old and gets harassed by some self-appointed power trip old Japanese guy to show her ID, which she refuses (because, y’know, crazy guy in the park), so he calls the police and claims she physically assaulted him (and all HE was doing was illegally asking to see her ID and frightening her and her kid in public, oh COME ON!).
        So 6 (six!) cops turn up and drag her and her kid to the station where they subject her to gestapo style interrogation/hostage justice for 2 and a half hours (‘Admit you assaulted him’) and grill a THREE YEAR OLD kid.
        Then they force her to consent to the police giving her contact info to the trouble-making power-trip old guy stalker from the park as a precondition of her release?
        Yeah, sounds totally legit ‘country of laws’ kind of stuff. Not at all like a totalitarian racist ethno-police state.
        FFS! Come on tennis player! If not this then WHAT?!?

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    It seems I was wrong about Black on Asian violence in the US as this research shows that White’s are the most likely perpetrators.
    However, this research also shows that I was right in that the most widely circulated images are of Black perpetrators (contrary to the data).

    I just wanted to post that since I pondered on it publicly previously and have improved my understanding since.

  • David Markle says:

    “Missing teacher Alice Hodgkinson found dead in Japan

    worked at Shane
    found a note
    had been distressed”

    This is really all you need to know. Eikaiwa management criminals still up their old shenanigans.

    Same ole, same ole.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Philip Brasor has been walking a fine line at Japan Times for a long time, I’m surprised management haven’t ‘let him go’ for being critical of Japan, but he’s got a writing style that joins all the dots except the last, and leaves the reader a superbly inescapable trail of breadcrumbs that leaves you unavoidably staring at his unspoken conclusion. Genius really.
    Anyway, this time he’s showing how Japan is an unrepentant right wing police state that never kicked its wartime fascism.
    Case in point; yet again, right wing demonstrators have closed down an art exhibition that is critical of Japanese war crimes by threatening violence. Apparently, threatening violence is their ‘freedom of speech’.
    Contrasted with peaceful retirees protesting the Tokyo Olympics; shut down by the police for being anti-Japan terrorists and communists.

    • David Markle says:

      “– but concern is growing over the danger of Covid spreading, with 55 confirmed cases now linked to the Games, including officials and contractors.”

      Its just a matter of time before that entire prison island, (so called Olympic village they have them restricted to), becomes another lepers colony, Dejima, if you will. Diamond Princess again, rinse and repeat. And we may never know with all the secrecy surrounding the potential spread of personal information, which is wheeled out whenever its convenient and ignored when its not. The defacto imprisonment of journalists, even information about specific countries and the infection incidents among athletes is all hush, hush. Typical police state.


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