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 https://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.

https://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.

https://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.

https://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.

https://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.

https://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.”…

https://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 https://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
https://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 https://www.debito.org/EmbeddedRacism2ndEdFlyer.pdf)

Anchor site for comments at https://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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26 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 28, 2021: END YEAR SPECIAL

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    I’m genuinely surprised that Ishihara isn’t blaming his own death on foreign nationals, women, the disabled, China, children who were bullied, or basically anyone he could put down in public.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Predictably, a bunch of mainstream media gave this Japanese Jesse Helms an ostentatious eulogy yesterday. An ex-Tokyo governor has a record of racist/xenophobic/fascistic remarks throughout his career. His fame as a renowned public official as well as national cultural celebrity is confronted with countless remarks that made him an architect of Japanese neocon. Just because he passed away does not keep us from rigorously scrutinizing his role in cementing his legacy. It must come out. So, here’s the list.

    — Called Nanjing Massacre as a lie (1990)
    — Made sankokujin speech (2000)
    — Called LGBTQ abnormal (2000)
    — Called ‘old’ women who lost fertility as useless and prone to sin (2001)
    — Said that French shouldn’t be qualified as international language (2004)
    — Called Africans criminals stealing cars in Roppongi (2006)
    — Ridiculed a Japanese journalist for behaving like a non-Japanese while being confronted over his remark on Minamiyama he deforested while serving as a governor. He referred it to the devil mountain that eats children. (2009)
    — Insinuated DPJ lawmakers as illegitimate for naturalizing (2010)
    — Said 3/11 disaster was punishment from heaven due to greed (2011)
    — Accused western judo athletes of tainting national purity and athleticism that was not in his taste. He made grossly racialized description of their performance (2012)
    — Stated that Japan must own nuclear weapons (2013)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shintaro_Ishihara#Foreign_relations

  • All NHK could say was he was outspoken. They just said nice things about it him to put him in a positive light. Even TBS and Asahi were not really critical. He got a free pass.

  • David Markle says:

    American behind Carlos Ghosn escape is ailing in Japanese prison, lawyers say (msn.com)

    “Now, Michael Taylor, the American who engineered Ghosn’s dramatic escape, is experiencing those harsh conditions for himself, his legal team says, as it campaigns to have him returned to the United States.

    Taylor, (61) the former Green Beret who spirited Ghosn out of Japan in a speaker box, has suffered frostbite because of a lack of heating at Fuchu Prison in suburban Tokyo.”

    This man should have never been extradited to Japan where he is suffering inhumane conditions. If you have read Ghosn”s book, and believe that he was arrested unjustly (as I do) it is imperative that this be brought to the attention of the US Embassy and Ambassador Rahm Emanual, before this man expires, as many other foreigners have at the hands of cruel Japanese officials.

  • For all of you on the outside of the Great Wall of Nippon hoping to get in, the message from the GoJ should be painfully clear by now, but if not, all me to spell it out for you in no uncertain terms:

    As Japan’s border controls are extremely strict toward foreigners, the message they send overseas is that “Japanese people think the restrictions are OK as long as the situation is convenient for themselves.” The fact is, Japanese people can go on holiday abroad, while at the same time there are foreigners who have been separated from family and those who have been unable to enter Japan for more than a year. This is clearly unfair.

    日本の水際対策は、外国人には非常に厳しいため「日本人は自分たちさえ良ければ、それでいいと思っている」というメッセージとして伝わっている側面がある。現に海外に遊びに行ける日本人がいる中、家族と離れ離れになっていたり、1年以上も日本に入れなかったりする外国人がいる。これは明らかにフェア(公平)ではない。

    Japan’s harsh border controls on foreigners send message it only cares for itself: scholar

    水際作戦で続く制限 日本人さえ出入国できれば、いいのか?

    Actually, the policy is worse than unfair because it even discriminates against those with ‘Japanese blood’ (emphasis mine):

    I grew up in Japan. I am a native speaker of the language, my mother is Japanese and she lives in Tokyo. But under the current policy I cannot enter Japan because of the color of my passport.

    Japan border policy keeps thousands of foreigners in limbo

    Singaporean Adeline Leng expected to start studying at a language school in Japan last April but is still not able to travel to the country due to its strict COVID-19 border controls.

    Leng, who has a Japanese grandmother, had wanted to live in Japan.

    Foreign students wait for Japan to lift COVID entry ban, some give up

    But hey, no need to stress about not being able to actually study in Japan or give up and switch over to South Korea – Japanese universities have online classes! Besides, the GoJ has your back:

    A proposal to exceptionally relax credit limits for online classes at Japanese universities under certain conditions, currently set at 60 of the 124 credits required for graduation, was approved by a working team of the education minister’s advisory body on Feb. 3.

    Online classes, a more common sight amid the coronavirus pandemic, can be taken regardless of location or time. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology hopes to use their advantages to encourage cooperation among universities through measures including class exchanges and attracting talented foreign students.

    The more online classes are offered, the easier it will be for students in China, South Korea and Southeast Asia, where the time difference with Japan is minimal, to “attend” classes at Japanese universities from their home countries.

    Japanese universities eye foreign students with move to ease online class credit limits

    大学のオンライン授業「60単位上限」規制緩和へ 留学生獲得後押し

    What’s that? You’re living somewhere other than China, South Korea or Southeast Asia? Well, you’d better be prepared to do some serious ganbaru!

  • So Koike got grilled about the travel ban and about her xenophobic past, but completely avoided to address the topic in ger answer. Still, congrats to Jake Adelstein. I never saw someone asking such direct questions to a Japanese politician. We need more journalists like that.

    https://youtu.be/ECTZf2bhg7g (skip to 16:27 to see what I‘m talking about, but I recommend watching the whole press conference).

  • Let’s remain hopeful that from the first of March there will be some changes with respect to the travel restriction.

    — Michael Mroczek, chairman of the European Business Council in Japan

    US, European business leaders urge Japan to end COVID entry ban

    We will take into account accumulated scientific knowledge on the Omicron variant, changes in infection conditions inside and outside Japan, and other countries’ border control measures

    — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

    Japan considering easing nonresident foreigner entry ban in March

    I guess we’ll all know soon enough.

    Meanwhile, rest assured that when (if?!) it does happen, Japan’s reopening is set to be too little, too late

    So, if you’re currently a student experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’ due to taking online language lessons in Japan at anti-social hours, or if you’re a student who is tired of putting your studies on hold waiting for Japan to reopen, you might want to start looking at Taiwan to pursue your scholarly interests; apparently they have been very accommodating to foreign students: COVID-19 entry ban could deter interest in Japan

    Oh, by the way, the Philippines is welcoming back foreign travelers after 2 years.

  • So I saw this news, and just couldn’t get it out of my head. It’s what happens when ‘insular-at-the-best-of-times’ Japan is 10+ years down the road of Abe ‘taking Japan back’ and all the right wing recidivist wishful thinking and it’s harmful effect on society. In fact, I specifically remembered Abe slashing funding for humanities at universities in favor of sciences, because, y’know, A) Japanese kids don’t need to study things like humanities that might develop their sense of human potential, and B) sciences! Japan misguidedly still believes it lost the war because those pesky Americans had better science, not because they had a better ideology (see point A).
    Anyway, where does this failed navel-gazing ideology take Japan?

    Scientists in genuinely liberal and democratic countries have been making breakthroughs in the field of nuclear fission (which literally has the potential to provide limitless clean energy);
    https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60312633.amp

    Meanwhile, what has Japan been working on?
    https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/23/taste-the-tv-japan-invents-lickable-screen-to-imitate-food-flavours
    That’s right. TV screens you can lick when you watch food shows. In the middle of a pandemic.

    Says it all really. It’s a hoot of a ‘goofy Japan’ story in the rest of the world, except that in Japan you just know no one involved in financing or developing this technology had any thought other than how great Japanese science and technology is. Frog in the pond…

  • @Jim Di Griz 

    To use poker analogy, I’ll see your lick-able telly and raise you hydrogen gas production.

    The articles below are heavily pay-walled, so those wanting to check the veracity of my statements will either need to pay for access or take me at my word.

    That said, the naval gazing in this case has to do with producing hydrogen from water (ostensibly for use in fuel cells that can replace internal combustion engines): current methods either a) involve the use of fossil fuels to produce hydrogen or b) require catalysts made from rare metals that are expensive or in short supply. A new method described here, which has been discovered by a team of researchers at the RIKEN (i.e. Japan), uses more mainstream metals (i.e. cobalt and manganese).

    Sounds great, right?

    Well, not so fast: according to a study done at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (i.e. Germany), hydrogen technology is unlikely to play a major role in sustainable road transport.

    Big frog in a small pond indeed.

  • @ Jim,as postmodern Japan is brand marketing driven (as this “Japan” was made in America’s image) thus hedonistic consumerism and orifice pleasures are indulged, in fact the order of the day. I am completely unsurprised by this turn of events.

  • JK, in the link you shared, that right wing was claiming over 30% of crimes in Japan are committed by Vietnamese. That can’t be right. I’m pretty sure the NPA releases statistics on this stuff.
    Still, given how crimes by NJ get prosecuted and crimes by Japanese seem to get resolved with some bowing, maybe it is? (Yes, I’m thinking of Seikawa at Nissan).

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Names and faces. I’m sure that if a Japanese national was beaten up by his/her Vietnamese co-worker, we would see the perpetrator’s name and face on our TV screens, and probably not squeezed between items on what someone was wearing at the Winter Olympics and a new udon shop opening in Nakano…

  • @JK,
    Hydrogen fuel cell train? Due to be in service by 2030?
    Just like the hydrogen fuel cell car Mirai, from Toyota, that was due to taxi the entire 2020 Olympics staff, athletes and visitors around Tokyo?
    Never happened. And you never see a Toyota Mirai on the streets. You see Tesla often enough though…

  • @JK,
    Now you’ve got me remembering this absolute rib-tickler of an article by Japan cheerleader Jesper Koll!
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/12/29/commentary/japan-commentary/ten-surprises-japan-2021/
    It’s pure comedy gold. Anyone who has lived in Japan will read this and laugh at his lack of understanding of modern Japan.
    Of course, not a single one of his predictions came true. If he wants to try to blame that on Covid being a ‘black swan’ event, then more fool him. I certainly wouldn’t take investment advice from someone as clueless as him. Which is why he ‘parted ways’ from J P Morgan in 2015 (or maybe it was because his wife was an alleged close friend of PM Abe). Either way, his over the top articles always marked him out as not knowing what he was talking about.

  • @Jim Di Griz

    You never see a Toyota Mirai on the streets. You see Tesla often enough though…

    Exactly.

    Instead of ‘Mirai’ (i.e. ‘Future’), it should have been called ‘Miranai’ (i.e. ‘Not seen’).

    Yes, the JT article you mentioned was quite entertaining.

  • Starting in March, the GoJ is going to ‘ease’ border controls, but these measures (or lack thereof) are not even good enough for an enfranchised Wajin in the form of Masakazu Tokura (i.e. the head of the Japan Business Federation / Nippon Keidanren and Sumitomo Chemical Co.):

    Japan’s top business lobby calls for border controls to be eased more

    For the record, the ‘relaxed’ border controls involve:

    * Raising the daily cap on the number of new entrants from 3,500 to 5,000.

    * For certain countries (e.g. Australia, Spain, Thailand, the Philippines, and the United States) lifting the three-day isolation period for travelers who test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival.

    * For other countries (e.g. Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan and Uzbekistan) cutting the quarantine period from six days to three; travelers need to test negative on the third day of their quarantine.

    Japan seeks to further ease border controls as COVID 6th wave wanes

    And…that’s it. The new daily cap allows for less than twice the number of arrivals under the old one (which is a far cry from the ~64,000 a day that were entering for long-term visits before the pandemic), and also includes Japanese nationals, which means hundreds of thousands of NJ will still struggle to enter.

    Small Japan border easing stirs hope, worry for foreigners

    What disturbs me the most, however is not the GoJ’s treatment of NJ (this, unfortunately is expected), but rather how NJ realize what’s the GoJ is doing yet won’t mentally move on. Case in point: Stefano Piras — an Italian who hasn’t been able to visit his Japanese fiancée for more than a year. From the article:

    Having lived in Osaka for two years as a Japanese language student, Piras was aware of Japan’s tendency to be wary of outsiders, but “it was a shock that they are still so closed. … It’s like saying Japanese are OK but we (foreigners) are not OK. We bring sickness and Japanese are the pure ones.”

    Still, Piras hasn’t lost his love of Japanese culture and people. He calls Japan “my second home.”

    Well, Mr. Piras, what good is having a second home if you aren’t allowed to enter it?

  • Mainichi Shimbun has published a two-part story about the violent truth about immigration detention centers in Japan here and here (Japanese versions are here and here).

    Yet the disturbing part of these two articles is not that the immigration officer’s treatment of Andre Kussunoki bears an uncanny similarity to that of George Floyd (on video, Kussunoki coughs and says, “I can’t breathe”), but rather this quote from Mr. Kussunoki himself after his ordeal:

    But I’m half Japanese. My wife is Japanese. So I don’t want to badmouth Japan.

    This is guestism at its worst — there’s a world of difference between badmouthing a country and condemning a country for its human rights violations.

  • Meanwhile, inside the Great Wall of Japan, a company (Hanabatake Ranch) has sued four Vietnamese workers for 2 million yen ($17,350) for “neglect of their work duties” because a) they had not formed a labor union*, and b) because they “agitated other employees and stopped the factory assembly line.”

    * According to the company president, “A strike is an action by a labor union. Missing work suddenly without a prescribed procedure is neglect of work duties.”

    Popular caramel maker sues foreign workers for calling strike

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