DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 28, 2021: END YEAR SPECIAL

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 28, 2021
END YEAR SPECIAL

Hello and Happy Holidays to all Debito.org Newsletter Readers! This Newsletter brings you my annual Top Ten, this year moved to the Shingetsu News Agency because The Japan Times isn’t in the market for articles like these anymore. Excerpt:

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Visible Minorities: Human Rights Top Ten for 2021
SHINGETSU NEWS AGENCY, DEC 27, 2021 by DEBITO ARUDOU in COLUMN

SNA (Tokyo) — Since 2008, I have always devoted my end-year columns to counting down the Top Ten human rights issues as they pertain to Non-Japanese residents of Japan. This year I’m moving this feature to the Shingetsu News Agency. Let’s get started:

10) Debito.org Turns 25 Years Old…
9) Tourism to Japan Drops 99% Since 2019…
8 ) Vincent Fichot Hunger Strike against Japan Child Abduction…
7) Tokyo Musashino City Approves, Then Defeats, Inclusive Voting Proposal…
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Full countdown with write-ups at https://shingetsunewsagency.com/2021/12/27/visible-minorities-human-rights-top-ten-for-2021/
Anchor site for comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=16942

Now on with the Newsletter!

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GOOD NEWS
1) US Embassy in Japan tweets warning against Japanese police practice of “racial profiling”: Bravo. About time.
2) Miyazaki International College cut their elderly professors’ salaries by 20%. After a 7-year battle, Fukuoka High Court rules this illegal. A victory for foreign plaintiffs too.
3) Senaiho Case against Yamanashi City for “Hair Police” school bullying: A very rare victory for the Plaintiffs! (UPDATE: Full court decision attached)
4) Good 2018 JT article on Japanese Nationality Law. Upshot: Don’t give up NJ citizenship after naturalizing into Japan

OTHER NEWS
5) My SNA VM28: “Japan’s Fast Breeder Reactor of Racism.” Summarizes book “Embedded Racism” First and Second Editions, Nov 22, 2021
6) My SNA VM27: “The Bright Side of Japan’s ‘Culture of No’.” Surprise! Debito has something positive to say about Japan. Oct 18, 2021
7) My SNA VM7: “Japan’s Botched Response to the Diamond Princess Coronavirus isn’t Racism; it’s Stupidity”, Feb 17, 2020 (archiving link to full text)

…and finally…
8 ) Debito’s SECOND EDITION of “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Lexington Books, 2022), fully revised and updated, now on sale
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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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GOOD NEWS
1) US Embassy in Japan tweets warning against Japanese police practice of “racial profiling”: Bravo. About time.

US Embassy: “The U.S. Embassy has received reports of foreigners stopped and searched by Japanese police in suspected racial profiling incidents. Several were detained, questioned, and searched. U.S. citizens should carry proof of immigration and request consular notification if detained.”

COMMENT: We’ve been warning about racial profiling by Japanese police on Debito.org for many years now. (We’ve even gone so far to call it “standard operating procedure” in public policing.) Finally the US Embassy is now warning its own citizens against it. Well, good, and long overdue. Because when the US Embassy weighs in on things like this (such as instant Gaijin Card Checks at hotels, shady street Gaijin Card Checks by people posing as Japanese police, and instant pee-pee drug tests for people who “look foreign” in Roppongi), the GOJ sits up and takes notice (and stops the pee-pee tests, for example). And in yesterday’s instance, it’s newsworthy enough to be reported quite widely in other media. Bravo US Embassy. Do more of this. Since Japan’s minorities are so disenfranchised that we’ll get no public policy to stop this, the only avenue available is pressure from public exposure from abroad.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16905

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2) Miyazaki International College cut their elderly professors’ salaries by 20%. After a 7-year battle, Fukuoka High Court rules this illegal. A victory for foreign plaintiffs too.

Mainichi: Due to a revision in the basic salary levels, Miyazaki International College cut their former professors’ base salaries by 20% once they reached sixty years of age. Plaintiffs sued for breach of labor contract, demanding 42,500,000 yen of unpaid salaries. Although they lost in lower court, on December 8 the Fukuoka High Court overruled and awarded the plaintiffs all claims.

COMMENT: This matters because there’s a long tradition in Japan of Academic Apartheid, where foreign academics in higher education are given contracted status (increasingly, term-limited) while Japanese-citizen academics are given uncontracted, permanent tenure from day one of employment. This is probably the oldest issue we’ve taken up on Debito.org, and it’s only gotten worse over the quarter-century of coverage: Instead of more foreign academics becoming tenured like Japanese, the trend is to “gaijinize” the Japanese faculty (as a money-saving effort encouraged by the Ministry of Education all the way back in 1995) by putting them on contracts, eliminating tenure in an attempt to clean out disagreeable leftists from Japan’s universities.

MEI’s move to put everyone above a certain age (Japanese and foreign) on a different lower pay scale as well was a line the Fukuoka High Court was not willing to allow under the law. Good to have that precedent set. Conclusion: Join a union if you’re working in Japan. Then fight these things in court as a union.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16918

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3) Senaiho Case against Yamanashi City for “Hair Police” school bullying: A very rare victory for the Plaintiffs! (UPDATE: Full court decision attached)

Senaiho (excerpt): In the final judgment in our civil case against the city of Yamanashi and the school system, the court awarded 110,000 yen to us, the plaintiffs. A bitter/sweet, long and hard fought victory since 2018.

First the positives. Any judgment against a public entity in Japan is almost unheard of… In the brief of the judgment the court found the teachers/school and city of Yamanashi liable for the damages of [forcibly] cutting our daughter’s hair [without her permission in front of everyone in school]… It also vindicated her from the some of the extensive damage to her self-esteem. Unfortunately, these scars she will most likely carry for the rest of her life. No mention was made of the root causes of her having her hair cut; racism and abuse against her for the sin of being born from a mixed racial couple.

The downside of our small victory is that it is small. One judgment in a regional court in Japan changes nothing really. There will be some media coverage for a little while. After that dies down, the bullies will continue to bully, the racists will continue to rant, and the public officials will continue to cover up their culpability… Thank you again to everyone here at Debito.org who supported us with your encouragement and prayers.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16901

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4) Good 2018 JT article on Japanese Nationality Law. Upshot: Don’t give up NJ citizenship after naturalizing into Japan

JT: Q: How many Japanese citizens hold multiple nationalities?
A: The Justice Ministry confirmed to The Japan Times in April that some 890,000 are in a position to be dual nationals, according to data from local municipalities from the years 1985 to 2016.

Q: Has anyone been stripped of their dual nationality by the Japanese government?
A: There have been no reported instances of dual nationals by birth having their citizenship revoked. In April, the Justice Ministry confirmed to The Japan Times that the justice minister had never issued a warning to a dual citizen by birth to decide upon one nationality, meaning that no such dual national has ever been stripped of their Japanese citizenship under Article 15 of the Nationality Act.

Upshot: International couples with dual national children in Japan, take note: Do not let your children sacrifice one side of their identity merely for the sake of bureaucratic convenience, especially when they don’t have to.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16936

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OTHER NEWS
5) My SNA VM28: “Japan’s Fast Breeder Reactor of Racism.” Summarizes book “Embedded Racism” First and Second Editions, Nov 22, 2021

Excerpt: In my new Second Edition of Embedded Racism (2022), I’m now arguing that Japan’s long-ignored racial discrimination undermines the rest of the world, especially its liberal democracies, because Japan is in fact a fast-breeder reactor of radioactive racism…

The conclusion is that my second edition of Embedded Racism is a clarion call for liberals and progressives to wake up, and get ready to defend democracy from the ethnocentrists. Fight with all your might the fiction that the way to deal with a race problem is to exclude and cleanse races from your society. That’s the Japan template. Don’t let it be yours.

Again, if you leave discrimination alone, it spreads. Leaving Japan alone to practice its embedded racism has finally reached the point of blowback. It’s time for a new set of templates to fight racial discrimination in the world, including and especially Japan’s.

Overseas policymakers should also be ready to make Japan take responsibility for what it’s wrought upon the world. It’s time to pressure the Japanese government to observe its treaty promise to the United Nations more than 25 years ago—passing a law against racial discrimination—and begin the process of enfranchising its minority voices.

That includes doing more than just scolding or issuing strongly worded letters. I suggest putting pressure where Japan’s elites care—limiting access to overseas markets. Or else Japan will remain a fast breeder reactor of racism irradiating the rest of the democratic world.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16888

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6) My SNA VM27: “The Bright Side of Japan’s ‘Culture of No’.” Surprise! Debito has something positive to say about Japan. Oct 18, 2021

SNA: As the pandemic stretches into yet another season, the media is starting to assess how Covid is changing the world permanently. At least one pundit has called the situation “epochal,” with the ever-rising worldwide death toll causing disruptions to politics, government, economics, and social life in general. It’s no longer a matter of just getting everyone vaccinated and then everything going back to normal: for the foreseeable future, we’ll have to accept some form of deprivation as the new normal.

Some countries are coping with deprivation (or at least a deferred gratification) less well. The United States is a good example. Despite being one of the most advanced economies and developed civil societies in the world, it has botched the pandemic badly–and it is not only because the previous president was willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of people to maintain his power. It’s also because of a design flaw deeply embedded in America’s national psyche.

American society is oddly susceptible to charismatic frauds posing as leaders, inept at everything except the uncanny talent of playing off social expectations framed as “freedoms”: 1) “freedom from want” (i.e., in a land of plenty, you should be able to get whatever you want); and 2) “freedom from being told what to do by government” (better known as “liberty,” where, as long as it’s not specifically illegal, you should be able to do whatever you want).

Consider how Covid has devastated American expectations. In terms of want, supply chains worldwide have broken down, meaning Americans have had to defer consumer gratification in places where it hurts, from toilet paper to used cars to sudden exorbitant rents. In terms of government nonintervention, the audacity of a national vaccine mandate demanding people get a Covid shot is being denounced as “tyranny.” Not all societies have reacted like this…

This is where Japan comes in. At a time of historic stressors around the globe, I realized that my decades living in Japan have come in handy. In fact, Japan has been an excellent training ground for deprivation and deferred gratification. They seem to lack the ability to keep things in perspective, particularly the one I gained from living under Japan’s “Culture of No.”…

http://www.debito.org/?p=16849

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7) My SNA VM7: “Japan’s Botched Response to the Diamond Princess Coronavirus isn’t Racism; it’s Stupidity”, Feb 17, 2020 (archiving link to full text)

Back in February 2020, Covid created the modern equivalent of the “hell ship” in the Diamond Princess luxury liner, which trapped its passengers in Yokohama Port (until they were rescued by their respective governments) because of Japanese Government stupidity. It’s been nearly two years gone by, so in lieu of a new blog entry, let me archive and link to the full text of my SNA column on it. Excerpt:

SNA (Tokyo) — The drama of cruise ship Diamond Princess, currently moored at Yokohama and quarantined by Japan’s Health Ministry due to some of the 3,700 passengers and crew testing positive for the coronavirus, is a human rights crisis. The Covid-19 outbreak that originated in China has killed more than 1700 people and sickened tens of thousands. Here’s my take: Surprise! I’m not going to argue that the prison-ship conditions are due to racism, but more a matter of official stupidity…

Another thing the Japanese government botched: the willingness of all the passengers to simply gaman the stupid. The Diamond Princess is an international ship, and passengers from other countries aren’t going to do what’s expected by Japanese authorities. They are not going to quietly do as they’re told.

In fact, many people with different historical touchstones about being quarantined might object to being trapped on a Kalaupapa, a Swinburne Island, a Poveglia, or a wartime “hell ship.” So they did something about it. Passengers and crew have internet access, and they complained loudly to their respective governments and media about the increasingly intolerable conditions they have been subjected to.

Viral videos and interviews have turned the Diamond Princess into a much bigger embarrassment than some statistical infection rate blip. Instead of looking like Asia’s foremost modern, clean, and civilized country, Japan has only managed to look unprepared to handle international standards of disease control, or for that matter the international tourism Japan wants so badly.

Full text now archived at Debito.org at http://www.debito.org/?p=15942

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…and finally…

8 ) Debito’s SECOND EDITION of “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination”

The new SECOND EDITION of “Embedded Racism” (Lexington Books, 2022), completely revised and updated with 100 extra pages of new material, is now on sale.

Information site outlining what’s new, with excerpts and reviews, and how to get your copy at a discount at
http://www.debito.org/embeddedracism.html

(Or you can download a promo flyer, take it to your library, have them order the book, and then borrow it for free at http://www.debito.org/EmbeddedRacism2ndEdFlyer.pdf)

Anchor site for comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=16875

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And that’s all for 2021! Thank you again for reading Debito.org, and we’ll see you in the New Year

Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 28, 2021 ENDS

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