Hi Blog. Good news, of sorts. Today starts Japan’s official “Human Rights Week” (Jinken Shuukan), when the GOJ spends money (and claims to the UN national campaigns of awareness raising) to promote issues of human rights.
The Bureau of Human Rights (jinken yougobu), the window-dressing department within the Ministry of Justice entrusted to spend tax money but not actually enforce any human rights mandate, usually glosses over discrimination against NJ (heaven forfend they actually use the breathtaking word “racial discrimination”, or actually call for a law against it!) as a matter of cultural misunderstandings (a wonderful way to reduce the issue down to next to nothing), and holds it low regard in comparison to other (worthy) issues of discrimination against Burakumin, Ainu, the handicapped, AIDs patients, etc. This has been reflected in dismissive GOJ human rights surveys and past “awareness-raising” campaigns in previous Human Rights Weeks.
So it comes as a welcome surprise that this year the GOJ has issued a commemorative pamphlet including discrimination against NJ as a real issue. Of course, the old bone about “cultural issues” is still there to dilute the Truth Octane. But it’s a start. Here’s my translation:
RESPECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF FOREIGNERS
Reflecting the era of internationalization in recent years, the number of foreigners making a living in our country has increased dramatically, but there have been various cases of human rights problems including being refused entry to public baths, discrimination in the workplace, and being refused apartments, due to differences in languages, religion, lifestyle customs etc. Human rights has no borders. It is desirable in future for us as a member of the international community to show respect and acceptance to foreigners who have different cultures and diversity.
Well, actually, looking over information from last year archived on Debito.org, it’s not that much of a change. Except that the BOHR site now actually includes on its official website a new video game for its cartoon characters, called “The Grand Adventure in Human Rights Land”! Have a play! Hey, it’s your taxes, might as well use them.
Here’s a scan of the pamphlet, courtesy of KGD. As the submitter notes: “It comments that ‘there are no national boundaries to human rights’ and notes that foreigners have been refused entry to public baths in Japan. While the pamphlet won’t get anyone the Nobel Prize, it does indicate that your message is reaching some bureaucrats in the central government.”
Well, good, I guess. Arudou Debito in Sapporo