Japan Times on Japan’s emerging NJ policing laws. Nichibenren: “violation of human rights”


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Hi Blog. Quick update for today. Japan Times reports due (but long overdue) outrage from some quarters regarding privacy issues and overdone punishments (the 200,000 yen fine being raised as an issue below is worthy of condemnation, but it’s NOT a change from the status quo — the fine is in place now under Gaitouhou Article 18!). But I doubt this debate will cause the MOJ or the GOJ to deviate from their ever-vigilant course of preferring policing NJ over treating them like other residents of Japan… incentives are ever in place for increasing the policing.  Arudou Debito in Okayama


Immigration reforms spell Big Brother, JFBA warns

The Japan Times, Thursday, March 26, 2009
By MINORU MATSUTANI, Staff writer, Courtesy of Mark MT

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and nonprofit organizations voiced concern Wednesday that bills to revise immigration laws will violate the human rights of foreign residents.

The bills were submitted to the Diet earlier this month and will be deliberated on soon.

Critics of the bills also said punishments for violators of the revised laws, including a fine of up to ¥200,000 for those not carrying the new “zairyu” (residence) card that will replace the current alien registration cards, are too harsh.

The bills propose consolidating the management of foreign residents’ data under the Justice Ministry, replacing the current system in which local governments take charge of foreign resident registration, while the ministry handles immigration control.

“Overall, the revision greatly lacks consideration of foreigners’ privacy. The level of consideration is so much lower than that for Japanese,” Mitsuru Namba, a lawyer and member of the JFBA’s human rights protection committee, told reporters in Tokyo.

Social Democratic Party chief Mizuho Fukushima, who was at the briefing, is ready to oppose the government in the House of Councilors. “The bills suggest monitoring of foreigners will be strengthened. Management of information will lead to surveillance of foreigners,” she said.

Namba and Nobuyuki Sato of the Research-Action Institute for the Koreans in Japan urged lawmakers to amend the bills so the state can’t use the zairyu card code number as a “master key” to track every detail of foreigners’ lives.

“Such a thing would be unacceptable to Japanese, and (the government) must explain why it is necessary for foreigners,” Sato said.

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8 comments on “Japan Times on Japan’s emerging NJ policing laws. Nichibenren: “violation of human rights”

  • As I wrote in one of my post here a week ago, they should give us necklaces with built in RFID at the entry to Japan. residents would pick up at Ministry. No IDs would be necessary. I will repeat again. Do GoJ really want to increase foreign residents or tourists by 10mln, or decrease already decreasing population? I think the latter. We are like guinea pigs, everything possible what is not possible towards Japanese. We have no voice and I`m sure this “law” or rather policy will go through. One Minister cannot block anything.

  • It may be time to bring back your “How do you feel about the new proposed registration regulations for NJ?” poll, and see how people now feel about it with this new information.

  • The foreigner in Japan seems to be just a play thing at the whim of the GOJ. I think many people will have to decide whether to naturalize or get the hell out.

  • For what Snowman says, even if you were to “naturalize”, you will still run into the same problems—per Debito and the Onsen case.

    The problem will time-and-again be, that if you aren’t Japanese, you are Sasquatch. And it’s always tempting to mess with Sasquatch:


    And the problem is the American Embassy will treat you like Sasquatch too!

    When Sasquatch was flying the B-29s or sitting in the Daiichi Seimei Building running Japan, it was a different story. But Sasquatch is a much more manipulable and docile fellow nowadays.

  • Everywhere in the world, foreigners are supposed to carry some form of ID. In the US, a foreigner has to always carry a passport or a green card. In Japan, one has to carry a passport or a Gaijin/Zairyu card.

    Seriously, what is the goal of this movement? Make Japan a society where foreigners do not have to carry IDs? That is like asking impossible.

    By the way, I checked the web page of JFBA. Though they are against proposed immigration change because they are strong hold of Liberals, they do not go so far as to call the reform human right violation.


  • HO you are correct and I agree but they should just be more lenient
    to people who, for example, forget the card at home or lose it….
    We should not live in fear of forgetting/losing a damn piece of paper.
    Arrest (nightmarish vision) is well too much and also the 200,000 yen
    fine. A 20,000 yen fine should do in my opionion.
    In theory if you lose the card at night and go to a Koban to denounce that
    could they arrest you ?? What about if they ask you the card on your way to
    the Koban…

  • Kakui Kujira says:

    HO said:
    “Everywhere in the world, foreigners are supposed to carry some form of ID.”

    This is NOT true. There are MANY countries that require this, but not ALL of them.
    I’m Australian, and I happen to know that the only legal differences between citizens and non-citizens concern being elected and being deported. There are no requirements to carry ID for anyone. You may be required to produce ID at certain times, for certain things, but you do not have to have ID at all times.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    HO, it is not always true that foreigners everywhere have to carry physical identification papers at all times. Even in the terrorist-fearing US, non-permanent immigrants aren’t required to carry anything at all, and while permanent residents (“green card” holders) are required to carry theirs, only immigration officers can ask to see them, and unlike the Japanese police, they aren’t stationed on every street corner.

    Tourists and other short-term visitors in most of the world are advised specifically not to carry original documents in their pockets, for their own safety. They’re advised to carry photocopies and leave the originals in a safe. Some people feel safer carrying them themselves, but the emphasis is on which one the holder prefers. In Japan, however, the government has unilaterally decided that such irreplaceable papers must be carried whether the holder feels safe with them or not.

    In this age of the internet and online databases, there’s no reason why anyone should have to carry a physical card or paper. If a police officer needs to identify someone, they can ask the person’s name and birthdate, and look the data up in the koban computer or even on a pocket mobile device.

    I posted a much longer comment here (#6):


    …and my opinions regarding the breach of privacy that is the alien card system are just about the same as they were then.

    HO, this is my question for you: how is Japanese society better served by forcing some of its members to carry documents filled with easily-visible personal information? Even if you don’t object to the system of alien registration, how does society gain from putting these people in such a dangerous position?

    I once saw a “public safety” poster urging people to lock their mobile phones so that the private information contained in them won’t be exposed if you lose your phone. (It was very distinctive, with liquid “information” leaking out of the phone.) That’s a fine poster, but imagine that your phone didn’t have any locking capability, plus you weren’t allowed to leave home without your phone. That’s the situation that non-nationals are in in Japan..


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