JT: Shiga governor backs antidiscrimination law


Hi Blog. This just turned up when I was searching my files for something else. A Japan Times article from last August I missed because I was doing one of my cycletreks. Better late than never:

There are indeed people in the government, particularly at the local level, who see sense and speak it: Japan needs a law to ban racial and other forms of discrimination. They are doing things in their own way which shouldn’t be overlooked:

Some local governments are abolishing the Nationality Clause”. Tottori Prefecture even passed its own anti-discrimination law (before it was UNpassed months later). Several city governments around Gifu and Shizuoka Prefectures themselves have been working since 2001 (starting from a signed declaration called the Hamamatsu Sengen) to get the national govenment to take specific measures to secure better systems re education, social security, and registration for their NJ residents. (I have heard some updates on this recently from a student doing his dissertation on this very subject. Should have a brief from him presently.)

Anyway, the JT article. Within it are the typical “chicken-and-egg” arguments which keep derailing the debate: Change society before changing the law. Sort of like asking rapists and stalkers nicely to desist their naughtiness before you pass a law against rape and stalking.

It’s ludicrous, but, I might add, historically not unique to Japan. Read some of the arguments raised in the Lincoln-Douglas Slavery Debates of 1858 or by the US South supporting segregation in the 1950s, and you’ll see remarkable similarities in the points raised by people on the wrong side of history. Debito in Sapporo


Shiga governor backs antidiscrimination law
The Japan Times Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006
By ERIC JOHNSTON Staff writer

Courtesy of The Community and Steve Silver

OSAKA — Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada said Wednesday [August 23, 2006] she generally supports the creation of a national law to ban racial discrimination.

“Yes, at first glance, I support such a law,” Kada said. “But Shiga Prefecture still needs more hard data on the condition of foreign residents before deciding what policies to support.”

In May, nearly 80 human rights groups around Japan, and the United Nations, urged the country to enact legislation to guarantee the rights of foreigners and to show people thinking of moving here that the government will protect their legal rights.

However, many people in the central government and business who are pushing for more foreign labor oppose legislating against discrimination. Some say it would be better to change the attitude of society to be more tolerant of foreigners.

Speaking at the Kansai Press Club, Kada, who last month became the nation’s fifth female governor, said her prefecture is lagging behind others in integrating non-Japanese, especially foreign laborers, into the community.

Shiga has about 30,000 foreigners, including about 14,000 Japanese- Brazilians. In the Kansai region, it has the largest ratio of foreign residents who have moved there in the last two decades to Japanese.

Many of them came to work in auto-parts factories.

“Compared with Gunma and Shizuoka prefectures, which also have large populations of Japanese-Brazilians, the debates and policy measures for integrating foreigners into the community have not advanced very far in Shiga,” she said.


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