DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 25, 2007

mytest

Hello Blog. I’m trying to limit myself to one posting per day on my blog, so as to not overwhelm RSS subscribers, and not send out fat newsletters too frequently. But even then, I’ve still got about two weeks’ unreleased blog backlog, and a very pregnant newsletter to organize by theme. Here goes:

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1) FOLLOW-UP TO THE “HAIR POLICE” REPORT… comments from cyberspace
2) ASAHI: KURASHIKI HOTEL REFUSES NJ, GETS SLAPPED BY CITY GOVT
3) JUDGE RULES OVERWORKING NJ EDUCATORS IS LEGAL
4) UTU PETITION AGAINST OUTSOURCING JOBS
5) PETITION RE “COMFORT WOMEN”, US HR RESOLUTION 121
6) CHE: GRASSROOTS MEASURES AGAINST JAPAN’S HISTORICAL AMNESIA
7) FUJI TV: ARCHIVED SHOW ON JAPAN’S EXTREME RIGHT WING

and finally…
8) SECOND DEBITO.ORG DEJIMA AWARD TO “ALL-JAPAN HS ATHLETIC ASSN”
who organized a student footrace barring NJ from the starting lineup (Asahi)

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By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
May 25, 2007 Blogged in real time at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Freely forwardable

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1) FOLLOW-UP TO THE “HAIR POLICE” REPORT…

I released my preliminary essay on how Japan’s high schools police their students, investigating a report of a Shizuoka Prefectural school forcing a NJ child to dye her natural hair color to black.
http://www.debito.org/?p=412

I received quite a number of comments from my mailing lists, and on the blog. Ranging from posts that compulsory hair dyeing goes beyond high school, to posts which declare this a non-issue, there is in between advice from a J veteran of the system (on what to do if you want to protest), a JT article on someone who sued their school for dyeing harassment, and links to the deleterious effects of long-term exposure to the chemicals in the hair dye itself.

There’s too much good information to excerpt effectively here, so visit the comments section at
http://www.debito.org/?p=412#comment-26954
Perhaps leave some comments of your own…

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2) ASAHI: KURASHIKI HOTEL REFUSES NJ, GETS KNOCKED BY CITY GOVT

I have this filed under “anti-discrimination templates”, because for once the authorities did something to stop this:

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PERSON REFUSED HOTEL LODGING IN KURASHIKI BUSINESS HOTEL “BECAUSE HE’S A FOREIGNER”
THE ASAHI SHINBUN, May 17, 2007
Translated by Arudou Debito. Thanks to about ten people for notifying me.

KURASHIKI, Okayama Pref: In April, a Chinese man (45) living in Hiroshima was refused lodging in a Kurashiki business hotel. The reason given was that he was a foreigner…

The City Government of Kurashiki apologized for causing discomfort to the refused man. They added that they will redouble their efforts to ensure that every hotel in the area is informed not to refuse non-Japanese…

The Chinese man works in Japan and has no problems communicating in Japanese. He fumed, “This is outrageous. How would Japanese feel if the same thing happened to them? It must stop.”

The management of the hotel refusing foreigners, on the other hand, said, “We can’t deal with all the language issues regarding foreign lodgers, so that’s why we refuse them.” They indicated that they would continue doing so.
==============================

Not mentioned in the article is that the hotel is
———————————————————————
BUSINESS HOTEL APOINTO
(Kurashiki Miwa 1 chome 14-29, phone 086-423-2600)
http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~apoint/
———————————————————————

I called the Kurashiki City Government (particularly the Kankou Convention Bureau, 086-421-0224, Mr Ono), and a few other places to find out more about the case. Finally calling the hotel, I talked to a Mr Kawakami, who said that they saw the error of their ways (thanks to administrative guidance from the city government), and would no longer be refusing foreign guests.

Good, but this is quite a U-turn, on the very day an Asahi article comes out saying that they would continue. Guess it remains to be seen. I have asked my friends in Kurashiki to keep an eye out.

In the end, thanks are owed the Kurashiki City Government for actually doing something about the problem. This is in my experience actually quite unusual (see other cases of government inaction, in the face of clear and signposted racial discrimination, at the ROGUES’ GALLERY OF EXCLUSIONARY ESTABLISHMENTS)

Kurashiki was, of course, legally bound to, since the Ryokan Gyouhou (Hotel Management Law) Article 5 requires hotels to keep their doors open to anyone, unless there is a health issue involving contagious disease, a clear and present endangerment of public morals, or because all rooms are full.

Which is what makes hotels a relatively refusal-free haven for NJ in Japan (on the books, anyway). One of the issues brought forth in the Otaru Onsens Case was that the Otaru City Govt’s hands were allegedly tied because the bathhouses were private-sector, therefore outside of any legal control vis-a-vis discrimination. As I keep saying, racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan.

But hotels are specifically-governed by a law preventing wanton refusals, including those based upon race or nationality. See more at.
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#refusedhotel

Still, the law is only as good as those who enforce it. Tokyo Shinjuku-ku, for example, has a business hotel named TSUBAKURO (Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Hyakuninchou 1-15-33, Tel 03-3367-2896).

TSUBAKURO has been refusing foreigners for years (see their signs at http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Shinjuku) and have been called and visited a number of times, to no avail.

I have even told the local Hyakuninchou Police Box about this, shown them the law, and photos of the sign. They told me to take it up with the Shinjuku Police HQ. Great job, boys.

In any case, thanks are due Kurashiki City Government for taking effective measures. The Japanese judiciary, as well as its police, should take lessons:

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3) JUDGE RULES OVERWORKING NJ EDUCATORS IS LEGAL

Friend Kevin Dobbs in Tochigi reports that his lousy university working conditions (widespread for NJ academics in Japan, see http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html) have been justified by yet another one of those cracked judges skulking in our courtrooms…

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JUDGE RULES THAT WORKLOADS FOR NJ FACULTY
WHICH ARE DOUBLE THAT OF J FACULTY
ARE PERFECTLY LEGAL

Report by Kevin Dobbs, Full-time educator at the International University of Health and Welfare, Tochigi Prefecture, May 8, 2007

[Background behind the lawsuit on the Blacklist of Japanese Universities:
http://www.debito.org/IUHWdata.html ]

Our court experience was called “Kari Saiban” or Temporary Court, so our judge made his decision in 33 days. [Here is one of] the three main points that the judge said swayed him in favor of my workplace:

…A 1-year-renewable contract teacher (the one I mention above) at IUHW, and the only other union member still at IUHW, stated at a recent collective bargaining that 12 koma [90-minute classroom periods] was acceptable for him. But that number was in his contract, anyway, and always has been, so he had no choice in the matter. Even though this teacher is a koshi [entry-level instructor] with no publications or presentations to his credit, the judge decided to perceive me and this other teacher as qualitatively the same. The judge said, “If this teacher agrees with 12 koma, then so should Kevin Dobbs”. This, even though I have well over 100 highly-competitive publications and some presentations to my credit, not to mention the fact that I was director of up to ten native-English speaking teachers for 10 years. At a recent collective bargaining, however, IUHW said: “If Kevin Dobbs wants to publish, he should quit and get a job at another university. His accomplishments mean nothing to us.”

Anyway, this judge totally ignored our evidence: indisputable Ministry of Education documents, letters from primary sources, and labor law…
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Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=364

Kevin is appealing his case. You can send him words of encouragement at kdobbs329@yahoo.co.jp, because what happens to him has great potential for Pandora to bring out her key.

You can also help out people nationwide in Japan’s toughening labor market:

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4) UTU PETITION AGAINST OUTSOURCING JOBS

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“Stop Outsourcing – Job Security for All” Petition

The University Teachers Union has launched a “Stop Outsourcing – Job Security for All” petition and is seeking the support of individuals, organizations and unions in Japan.

The petition, which will be submitted to the Diet in early July, aims to highlight the threat of outsourcing to educational standards at universities, the threat of outsourcing to the job security of university teachers, and the general threat posed by the strategy of outsourcing to the living standards and job security of all workers — both Japanese and foreign.
==============================

More on the issue at http://www.debito.org/?p=405
Download the petition at http://www.utu-japan.org

Speaking of petitions:

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5) PETITION RE “COMFORT WOMEN” HR RESOLUTION 121

I include this excerpt in this newsletter as a matter of record, received from overseas activists:

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SUPPORT THE “HOUSE RESOLUTION 121” NOW! LONG-OVERDUE JUSTICE FOR “COMFORT
WOMEN”; END JAPAN’S DENIAL AND IMPUNITY OF ITS WAR CRIMES!

The HR Res 121 calls on the government of Japan to formally acknowledge and apologize for its role in the coercion of women into sex slavery (introduced by Mike Honda, and now has more than 120 co-sponsors)…
==============================

Rest of argument grounding the petition at
http://www.debito.org/?p=403

Debito.org’s archive on the issue of wartime sexual slavery at
http://www.debito.org/?s=Comfort+Women

I include this news in this newsletter because how this Congressional resolution turns out is very important. The GOJ would otherwise continue to refuse to settle this issue in my view properly. It will also serve as an update on what’s happening at the grassroots level vis-a-vis this movement. Worth a look.

Other people helping out in the same vein:

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6) CHE: MEASURES AGAINST JAPAN’S HISTORICAL AMNESIA

Since one of PM Abe’s campaigns to “beautify” Japan is basically to whitewash over the ugly elements of Japan’s past, The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story on how Japan’s civil society and disappearing war veterans are hard at work to preserve the record. We don’t hear enough about them in the media. Allow me to try to remedy that:

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WAR MUSEUM RESISTS JAPAN’S HISTORICAL AMNESIA
By David McNeill in Tokyo
The Chronicle of Higher Education April 27, 2007

Link for subscribers: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v53/i34/34a05401.htm
Longer version at Japan Focus Website at
http://www.japanfocus.org/products/details/2333
Courtesy of the author

… In the newly opened Chukiren Peace Museum, the 80-year old curator, Fumiko Niki, is among a small group of activists and academics who have spent years compiling a depository of records that they say proves the enormity of the imperial army’s war crimes before and during World War II. The effort to remember that history is being lost in a growing revisionist tide, she fears…

The core of the Chukiren museum’s collection is the testimony of 300 Japanese army veterans who, while in custody in China in the 1940s and 50s, confessed to atrocities there, including rape, torture, and infanticide. Photographic evidence is held in the archives. Ultranationalists have threatened to burn down the museum, prompting the elderly staff members to look into the unfamiliar world of high-tech security…

“As a historian of that war, I find the testimony consistent with both the documentary record and my own interviews with Chinese villagers,” says Mark Selden, a senior fellow in the East Asia program at Cornell University, in an e-mail message. “Like their American counterparts who returned home to tell of their own destructive acts in Vietnam, the Chukiren soldiers have braved opprobrium from super patriots to tell the truth about the war and their own part in it.”
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Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=395

Speaking of the Ultranationalists:

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7) FUJI TV: ARCHIVED SHOW ON JAPAN’S EXTREME RIGHT WING

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to ride in one of those jet-black soundtrucks, or what kind of people are behind the wheel and black glass?

On YouTube recently were added several videos about the Right Wing (Uyoku) in Japan. It’s an hourlong broadcast on the commercial TV networks (archived in five 10-minute parts).

The show was produced nearly 20 years ago by Fuji TV, with a somewhat sympathetic bent towards the Uyoku (i.e. the interviewers even get rides inside the soundtrucks), depicting the rival Sayoku (Extreme Left–in this case only the Chuukakuha) as monolithic, militant, and unclear in ideology. Nevertheless, I found it fascinating.

It opens with a branch of Uyoku lecturing NJ in Roppongi on how to behave in Japan (even if they’re saying “Obey Our Laws, Gaijin”, not “Yankee Go Home” sorts of things, I still find this attitude quite rich…). As this show was filmed long before official GOJ campaigns to depict and target foreigners as criminals (http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint), it’s not clear how the Uyoku would behave in the same situation nowadays.

The archiver also shows his bent by insinuating (in his writeup at YouTube, also blogged at Debito.org) that most people (especially, as he puts it, the “gaijin”) are uninformed; the Uyoku are somehow misunderstood as “militant racists”. But this show hardly sets the record straight for me; it remains clear that even with all the splinter groups, the common thread is still deification of the Emperor, purity as ideology, and having all Japanese share a common mindset of birthright.

Given that I saw the Dai Nippon Aikoku Tou speak last week in Odori Park, Sapporo, for more than an hour by their big blue bus (slogan on the back: “Give us back Karafuto [Sakhalin] and Chishima Rettou [the Kuriles]” (i.e. not just the Northern Territories), it’s not clear how they would treat the racially-separate peoples on those islands (or within Japan itself, given all the children of international marriages with Japanese citizenship). I remain doubtful that they would be accepting, which by definition would lead to militant racism.

In sum: As I also believe Japan is lurching rightward in recent years, this is worth a view to get an idea what the extreme version wants. In Japanese with very good English subtitles, somebody put a lot of work into making this series accessible to the outside world:

http://www.debito.org/?p=394

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and finally…
8) SECOND DEBITO.ORG DEJIMA AWARD TO “ALL-JAPAN HS ATHLETIC ASSN”
who organized a student footrace barring NJ from the starting lineup (Asahi)

After all the idiocies I’ve included in this newsletter, I saved the best for last. In fact, I would like to award the Second Debito.org Dejima Award to the All Japan High School Athletic Federation.

(Suggested by friend Chris Flynn, the Dejima Award is a showcase for those small-minded people in this society who feel the need to keep foreign peoples, ideas, and influences from these pristine shores. In much the same spirit as Feudal Japan kept foreigners secluded on an island off Nagasaki named Dejima centuries ago.)

Here’s the story:

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FOREIGN STUDENTS CAN’T START EKIDEN
05/24/2007 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200705240080.html
Courtesy of Glenn Boothe

Bowing to pressure from disgruntled fans, a high school athletic association will prohibit foreign students from running the first leg of the All Japan High School Ekiden Championships relay marathon starting next year.

The All Japan High School Athletic Federation said the decision, reached Tuesday, is intended to make the races more interesting for fans…

“We looked into the issue in a constructive manner after angry fans complained it is a turnoff to see foreign students scoring an insurmountable lead in the first section,” said Kazunobu Umemura, executive managing director of the federation….

“From the standpoints of ‘internationalization’ and school education, it would be ideal not to have any restrictions,” he said. “In reality, however, the differences in physical capabilities between Japanese and foreign students are far beyond imagination.”…
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Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=417

The obvious prescience displayed by the people who organize these footraces for students, when deciding to “keep the race more interesting for disgruntled fans” by shutting foreigners out of the starting lineup, is sure to make foreign students feel more welcome, and help keep Japan’s education system (struggling with our low birthrate, desperately courting foreign students) solvent and equal-opportunity. Not.

More on Japan’s nasty habit of shutting foreigners out of its sports and other competitions (again, sometimes using the same argument that foreigners have an unfair advantage due to physical or mental prowess) archived at
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#SPORTS

Avoid katou kyousou as best you can if it’s tainted with foreignness, I guess…

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All for this week. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FOR MAY 25, 2007 ENDS

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