DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 19, 2021

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 19, 2021
Table of Contents:
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THE EARLY FALLOUT FROM THE OLYMPICS
1) SNA: “Japanese Only” elevators at Tokyo Akasaka Hotel Excel Tokyu; hotel blames Olympic Organizing Committee! Plus Duty-Free Stores asked to rat on foreigners.

PRELUDE TO THE TIGHTENED-SECURITY AFTERMATH
2) Nikkan Sports: Aggressive Japanese man harasses Muslim woman and 3-year-old daughter in park, demands her Gaijin Card; then aggressive Japanese police detain, interrogate, and release the woman and child’s private info. I told you this would happen.
3) Japan’s “Gaijin Tank” Immigration Detention Centers: The Death of Sri Lankan Wishma Sandamali highlights a senseless, inhuman, and extralegal system killing foreigners they’ve trapped.
4) Mainichi: Japan wants its COVID vaccine passports accepted by foreign countries, but won’t accept foreign countries’ versions; does the GOJ understand the concept of comity?

… and finally …

5) My SNA VM Column 23: “Gaijin Card Reader App Obliterates Privacy,” June 21, 2021, on how NJ privacy is of so little concern that the Govt. has enabled anyone to swipe Gaijin Cards.
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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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THE EARLY FALLOUT FROM THE OLYMPICS

1) SNA: “Japanese Only” elevators at Tokyo Akasaka Hotel Excel Tokyu; hotel blames Olympic Organizing Committee! Plus Duty-Free Stores asked to rat on foreigners.

SNA: Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu separated its elevators between “Japanese Only” and “Foreigner Only.” SNA called the hotel to ask them why they did it. The answer is that this was their interpretation of guidance from the Olympic authorities. Seems all non-Japanese are visitors. (MP)

COMMENT: The assumption is, as usual, that rates of infection for foreigners and Japanese are different. Never mind that:

1) “Foreigners” as signposted includes ALL Non-Japanese (including Residents), regardless of whether they’ve actually left Japan and come back As Michael mentioned above, foreigners are no matter what treated as an exogenous force.

2) Plenty of Japanese have gotten infected from each other, not from foreigners. In fact, many cases of variants have been carried in and incubated by Japanese themselves.

3) Even foreigners who HAVE come in from overseas have been checked and cleared both inside and outside Japan for infection, and if the systems are working properly, the foreigners (only) are barred entry. That especially goes for people connected with the Olympics, as we have seen.

4) And many of those foreigners have gotten their vaccines overseas already, and at rates higher and more successful than Japan’s current lackluster (and slowing down) procedures for getting vaccinated.

5) I’m not an epidemiologist, but I daresay you’re LESS likely to get infected from inbound foreigners going through the current GOJ quarantine procedures than from the (generally unvaccinated) average Japanese clustered in poorly-ventilated urban transportation, non-remote workplaces, and eateries.

Finally, in addition to enlisting the general public to find “illegal foreigners” (including a downloadable app to scan Gaijin Cards like a game of Pokemon Go), the Japanese Government is now asking Duty-Free Stores to check passports and rat on foreigners for breaking quarantine (since after all, we can’t do that to Japanese). From the Japan Times:

JT: The government will ask duty-free stores to check the date of entry to Japan in customers’ passports and report if they were shopping during their required 14-day quarantine period. […] In the request sent to shop operators, the health ministry asks them to provide information including the names, nationalities and passport numbers of violators to its Health Monitoring Center for Overseas Entrants. If an Olympic-related visitor is found to be violating the rule, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will report the matter to the Tokyo Organising Committee.

UPDATE: “Foreigner Only” signs amended to “Foreigner Priority”. Fixed. Not.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16740

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PRELUDE TO THE TIGHTENED-SECURITY AFTERMATH

2) Nikkan Sports: Aggressive Japanese man harasses Muslim woman and 3-year-old daughter in park, demands her Gaijin Card; then aggressive Japanese police detain, interrogate, and release the woman and child’s private info. I told you this would happen.

Nikkan Sports: “A Muslim woman in her forties from South Asia living in Tokyo, who was subjected to wrongful voluntary questioning by officers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and had her name, address, and other private details leaked to a third party, submitted a formal complaint to the Tokyo Public Safety Commission on July 5. Her legal representation criticized, “This is a use of public power grounded in discriminatory attitudes towards foreigners.”

COMMENT: Let’s summarize this case: A man accuses a three-year-old kid of assault, gets aggressive with a Muslim woman (and reportedly SPECIFICALLY demands her Gaijin Card), and then siccs six also-aggressive cops on her. Then the cops cart only her and her toddler daughter off to the nearest cop shop for hours of interrogation, and hold her hostage until she releases her private information to this strange man. And later they give that man even more information in case he decides to sue a three-year-old! Clearly this has been blown out of proportion. And the cops abetted it! What a nightmare.

I’m pleased the woman sought out legal representation and filed the formal complaint with the Public Safety Commission. But that will probably result in nothing. (I’ve done the same for over-the-top police reactions in the past, and never gotten any satisfactory conclusion.) You can’t expect much when it’s wolves policing other wolves. So I hope she files an actual civil suit against the police and the person who harassed her and her daughter, so we can get some legal precedent behind this complaint. We need some kind of damper put on all the social damage done by the Japanese police demonizing foreigners for decades, and then deputizing the general public to target them.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16730

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3) Japan’s “Gaijin Tank” Immigration Detention Centers: The Death of Sri Lankan Wishma Sandamali highlights a senseless, inhuman, and extralegal system killing foreigners they’ve trapped.

Japan’s Immigration Bureau Detention Centers (aka “Gaijin Tanks”) are an extra layer of incarceration that only non-citizens must deal with. Regular Wajin Japanese, when detained, arrested, and/or incarcerated, go through Japan’s criminal justice and prison system. However, because non-citizen detainees cannot renew their visas while in detention, any arrest and incarceration by police increases the probability of detention later in separate Immigration detention facilities (specifically reserved for non-citizen visa overstayers and refugees/asylum seekers). Detainees in these Immigration facilities (nyūkoku kanri sentā) face a different system both in terms of criminal procedure and living conditions.

In terms of living conditions, rights of detainees to adequate food, exercise and living space in Immigration Bureau detention centers are less regulated than in Japanese prisons (which are subject to international oversight regarding standards of favorable treatment). Consequently, inhospitable, unsanitary, and generally unmonitored conditions in these detention centers have occasioned protests both from human rights organizations and from the detainees, in the form of hunger strikes and suicides. Immigration detainees have also suffered and died from their medical conditions being neglected by detention officials, and from the over-prescription of sedatives and painkillers.

In 2021, the senseless death of a Sri Lankan named Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, due to medical negligence in a detention center, brought national attention and protest against the GOJ’s treatment of visa overstayers and asylum applicants—and the withdrawal of a bill before the Diet that would have only strengthened the ability for bureaucrats “to keep any foreign national in custody without the approval of a judge”, thus violating constitutional guarantees of due process.

Sources follow. There is no defense for this inhumane extralegal detention system that is killing people through willful negligence simply because they are foreigners incarcerated. We catalog it all here on Debito.org for the record.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16720

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4) Mainichi: Japan wants its COVID vaccine passports accepted by foreign countries, but won’t accept foreign countries’ versions; does the GOJ understand the concept of comity?

Mainichi: “Japan is making arrangements for its COVID-19 vaccination passports to be accepted by over 10 nations, including Italy, France and Greece, after the certificate program begins in late July, government sources said Sunday. If the agreements are reached, certificate holders will be exempt from quarantine or showing negative test results for COVID-19 when traveling from Japan to those countries, the sources said. But the Japanese government plans to continue requiring travelers entering Japan, including returnees, to quarantine for two weeks even if they have been vaccinated. The position has complicated negotiations with countries such as Singapore and Israel, which have called for mutual exemption, the sources said.”

COMMENT: Funny, that. It’s yet another example of how Japan’s authorities expect to have their cake and eat it too. Like how institutions in Japan can discriminate against foreigners without much if any international sanction. But woe betide anyone who seems to discriminate against Japanese overseas. Japan has gotten away with this for so long (e.g., more than 25 years since it signed the UN CERD without passing any laws against racial discrimination) that the GOJ has accepted it as normal transactional behavior for Japan in the international arena. (That, or the bureaucracy is so silo-ed off that getting a coordinated vaccine passport policy across all of the veto gates would involve discomfiting ministerial turf battles. Boo hoo.)

Well, tough. Let’s hope that overseas negotiators have the sense to not be taken in by the “unique Japan” arguments as usual, and demand comity. You don’t get without giving back in kind. But given how lenient the outside world has been regarding, say, the overt racism of Japan’s exclusionary border policies during the pandemic (and now the “Japanese Only” Olympics), it’s not a slam-dunk conclusion as of this writing.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16725

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… and finally …

5) My SNA VM Column 23: “Gaijin Card Reader App Obliterates Privacy,” June 21, 2021, on how NJ privacy is of so little concern that the Govt. has enabled anyone to swipe Gaijin Cards.

SNA: “Privacy in Japan… is not being seen.” This quote, usually attributed to former US Ambassador to Japan Edwin O. Reischauer, was made in the context of an overcrowded Japan in his day, used to explain the stark difference between public and private behaviors of Japanese (sneaking off, for example, to love hotels for a bit of private time).

But privacy is taken quite seriously in Japan, especially if it will damage a reputation. Television broadcasts of criminal suspects on perp walks often have their handcuffs blurred, since the person hasn’t been convicted yet. Media reporting on businesses accused of unsavory activities (such as food poisoning or putting up “Japanese Only” signs) often refuse to report their company names so it doesn’t adversely affect their sales. Even people who park their cars in those love hotels may find themselves in a parking garage with curtains, or with their license plates covered up by pieces of plywood provided by the establishment.

So why doesn’t this concern for privacy apply to foreign residents? (Examples of egregious violations of privacy by nationality, contrasted with all the legal protections for citizens, follow. Then we get to the new Gaijin Card Reader App…)

Rest is at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2021/06/21/visible-minorities-gaijin-card-reader-app-obliterates-privacy/
Anchor site for comments and a photo of a subway notice telling the whole world that Gaijin Cards are scannable at http://www.debito.org/?p=16708

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That’s all for this month! See you after the Games!
Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 19, 2021 ENDS

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15 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 19, 2021

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    FREE THE TAYLORS!
    https://japantoday.com/category/crime/american-father-son-sent-to-japan-prison-in-ghosn-escape

    Convicted and jailed for helping Ghosn jump bail.
    1. Ghosn has not been convicted of ANYTHING and remains a SUSPECT. Why did the judge in the Taylors case find them guilty of ‘helping a CRIMINAL escape’?
    2. Convicted of helping Ghosn ‘escape’. Ghosn jumped bail, NOT A CRIME in Japan.

    Judge and prosecutors in this case playing word games to make it appear that they helped Ghosn (a convicted criminal!) escape from incarceration, when reality is that they assisted a suspect in jumping bail- an different matter entirely.

    Go on, give me another Naomi Osaka = Japan is changing story…

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Ah, no sooner said than done!
      Osaka lights the Olympic flame ergo, Japan is a country without discrimination!
      But only after Fukushima school children carry the flame (hope in the hearts of tsunami victims etc), and a doctor and nurse (Japan has been so seriously trying to support its health services through the pandemic and not minimizing or denying the problem at all (50%+ positivity rate in Tokyo today)). A masterclass in Tatemae!
      And what’s with that Leni Riefenstahl moment when the Japanese military raise and salute Olympic flag whilst aryan, sorry, Yamato schoolchildren in uniform sing? Honne exposed for those who know it when they see it.

      Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      And as far as the opening ceremony goes, this is the most expensive Olympics in history? Seriously? But it looks so ‘low-cost’ and low budget! Where did all the money go?!?
      Surely taxpayers can’t help but be embarrassed by such a visible display of graft and bribery with so little to show for it.
      Heartwarming to see CNN cover the anti-Olympics protest outside the stadium in real time.
      The IOC has got no clothes.

      Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Need proof?
      ‘ What a moment for Naomi Osaka. For the new Japan. For racial injustice. For female athletes. For tennis.’

      https://japantoday.com/category/tokyo-2020-olympics/'the-greatest-honor'-osaka-lights-olympic-cauldron

      The ‘new Japan’?!? This is the Japan that includes marching and saluting military in its Olympic flag raising at the opening ceremony and deploys hundreds of police outside to intimidate those pesky ‘anti-Japanese communist protesters’ in order to errr, ‘protect people’, errr….
      https://japantoday.com/category/tokyo-2020-olympics/as-tokyo-games-open-can-olympic-flame-burn-away-the-funk

      Reply
      • Edward J Cunningham says:

        Jim, just to be very clear, I am NOT a Japanese apologist. I have never been to Japan, so I don’t know what it’s like on a daily basis for people—especially visible minorities who can’t pass for Wajin. But in this one instance, I have to cut Japan some slack.

        If passing off the Olympic flag to representatives of the military makes a country fascist, then Australia and Greece are fascist too. In fact, I’ve noticed at MOST opening ceremonies outside the US that civilian reps hand off the flag to the military before the Olympic flag is raised. Countries where the civvies just do it by themselves are a minority.

        Pick your battles.

        Reply
        • Jim Di Griz says:

          I understand your point, but do Australia and Greece constantly apologize for their militaristic past and deny their war crimes whilst being led by descendants of leaders who led their nations on genocidal rampages?
          Japan, like Germany, isn’t really in a position to glorify its military ‘culture’.

          Reply
        • Jim Di Griz says:

          And here’s the Japanese military saluting the Russian team’s flag raising for coming first and second at Men’s 100m Backstroke.
          I mean, c’mon, seriously?
          Saluting returning coffins; yes.
          But since the Japanese right winger’s wet dream of getting the SDF into a war (still) hasn’t come true, these old men will have to get their jollies watching crisp military uniforms saluting RUSSIAN FLAGS.
          Give it a couple of days and the headlines will be back to how the SDF had to scramble hundreds of times to intercept Russian aircraft in Japan’s ADIZ…

          https://japantoday.com/category/picture-of-the-day/russian-dominance#comments

          Reply
  • David Markle says:

    Covid Invades Olympic Dejima/Leaders Worst Fears Come True

    https://portal4sport.com/Olympics/opinion-olympic-leaders-nightmare-scenario-has-become-reality-in-tokyo/

    “Four days before the opening ceremony of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Games’ nightmare scenario has become a reality.”

    AND an American gymnast who got the vaccine, has no symptoms but tests positive for Covid, what do you do with her? But the rules! The rules! We will watch, before our eyes, Japan wither away by its own making, its own rules, that cant be changed or broken.

    They cant keep it out. There will be more, and it hasn’t even started officially yet. Nor have most of the athletes and officials who are coming arrived yet. My! oh! my.

    Reply
    • Well, of course. Even with the Draconian rules, people can’t prevent infection. U.S. states with the most Draconian policies did not fair better, why would it be any different here? 安全の茶番劇。

      Reply
  • Olympic Opening Ceremony director Kobayashi Kentaro made sketches with holocaust jokes some years ago.

    https://twitter.com/noahoskow/status/1417896541562486789?s=21

    This Olmypics are just a huge joke. I decided to boycott them as soon as Japan announced that they will ban all foreign spectators, but all the news stories that appeared in the last 3 days made me even feel more disgusted than ever before. No way in hell should Japan ever be allowed to hold such an event like this ever again.

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Well, the inept J-Govt’s response to the covid pandemic means that Japan is now in the grip of a record 5th wave. The LDP won’t do a lock down because their J-Inc backers don’t want their failing business model disrupted (these companies haven’t spent the last 40 years in an economic slump refusing all change for nothing, you know!) and the LDP is happy to pretend that the reason for not locking down is that pesky ‘peace constitution’.
      So far they’ve been able to try bluffing the public with a kind of ‘how many of you are prepared to die of covid until you let us take away your constitutionally protected human rights’ false choice.
      So, the only tool they’ve got? To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, to the J-govt every problem looks like NJ.

      Reply

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