UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
Hi Blog. Readers JK and MS submit two informative articles that suggest things might be getting better for NJ vis-a-vis the nasty “gentenshugi” (minus-point-ism, meaning a standpoint of searching for any technicality no matter how minor to disqualify) one sees in Japan’s Nyuukan Immigration Bureau. But not really, as JK points out (commentary is his) when one reads the fine print.
My beef with how silly Immigration’s rules can get here in a Japan Times article (May 28, 2008) on Permanent Residency. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Hi Debito: Some interesting stories here (full articles pasted below):
Immigration Bureau grants reprieve to Chinese woman, children over visa trouble
But here’s the part I don’t get:
“Two years ago the husband obtained an investment and management visa, and started a food-related business. However, the business did not perform well and his visa was not renewed this year. As a result, the mother and two children were also unable to renew their visas.”
Perhaps this is ignorance talking, but is the the investment and management visa (投資・経営 ビザ) only as good as prevailing economic conditions?! It’s not like the guy was racing for pink slips (i.e. lose the race, lose your ride). Sheesh!
Here’s the other story:
Minister grants Chinese daughters of Japanese war orphan permission to stay in Japan
But this is a hollow victory at best because the 在留特別許可 that was fought so hard for is only good for a year *and* with strings attached:
“Kana, 21, a first-year student at Tezukayama University, and Yoko, 19, also in her first year at Osaka University of Economics and Law, were given long-term resident visas good for one year. The visa conditions allow the sisters to work in Japan, take trips outside the country, and may be renewed if the sisters can provide for their own livelihoods.”
This whole situation is just plain wrong on so many levels — the sisters landed in Japan when they were 9 and 7 and are now attending college. The two are de facto Japanese citizens, and yet it took 6 years of churn and an act of God (well, almost!) just so that they can stay in Japan for another year on a short leash. If the archipelago was about to burst at the seams with humanity, I could understand the need for all the wrangling, but as we all know this simply isn’t the case, and in fact the opposite is true, which is why the government needs to stop picking nits already! Sheesh! -JK
ARTICLES IN FULL:
Immigration Bureau grants reprieve to Chinese woman, children over visa trouble
OSAKA — A Chinese woman and her two children who faced deportation in October after her husband was unable to renew his status of residence have been issued long-term residency visas, allowing them to remain in Japan.
The Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau allowed the three to change their status of residence and granted them long-term residency visas, valid for one year. The 44-year-old woman, known by the Japanese reading of her name, To Ki, has been living in Japan for over 10 years, and people close to the family have praised the immigration bureau’s move.
To, who lives in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture, expressed her delight at the decision. “I’m really happy. I want to thank the teachers and everyone who worried about our children,” she said.
The woman’s husband came to study in Japan in about 1993, and later became a researcher at a private Japanese university. In 1997, his wife came on a family visa. The following year their son came over, and the couple’s daughter was born in Japan in 2001. Two years ago the husband obtained an investment and management visa, and started a food-related business. However, the business did not perform well and his visa was not renewed this year. As a result, the mother and two children were also unable to renew their visas.
When the husband returned to China, the couple’s son was in his second year at a private high school in Osaka, and their daughter was a third-year student at a municipal elementary school in Ikoma. Since the daughter is unable to read and write Chinese and it would be difficult for her to live in China, To applied to change her status of residence. The Ikoma Municipal Board of Education supported her, saying the girl should be able to study at the school where she was currently enrolled.
Mainichi Japan October 10, 2009
毎日新聞 2009年10月10日 東京朝刊
NARA — Justice Minister Keiko Chiba granted a pair of Chinese sisters who were facing a deportation order special resident status Friday.
Kana and Yoko Kitaura, descendants of Japanese children abandoned in China after World War II, had their residency status revoked after arriving in Japan with their parents, and lost a Supreme Court appeal to quash the deportation order. According to the pair’s support organization, the grant of special residency after a deportation order has been confirmed is very rare, with the case of 14-year-old Noriko Calderon — the daughter of Filipino parents deported early this year — possibly the only precedent.
“This is just one piece of paper,” said Kana, holding her new status of residence certificate, “But I can feel the weight of all six years (since being ordered out of Japan) in it.”
“I want to tell our family right away,” said Yoko.
Kana, 21, a first-year student at Tezukayama University, and Yoko, 19, also in her first year at Osaka University of Economics and Law, were given long-term resident visas good for one year. The visa conditions allow the sisters to work in Japan, take trips outside the country, and may be renewed if the sisters can provide for their own livelihoods.
Kana and Yoko, whose Chinese surname is Jiaochun, arrived in Japan in 1997 from Heilongjiang Province in China with their mother, who was certified as the fourth daughter of an orphaned Japanese from Nagasaki. The Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau, however, determined that there was no blood connection proving the three were related to the war orphan, and revoked landing permission for the entire family. The family was given deportation orders in September 2003.
Kana and Yoko’s father was forcibly relocated, and the family filed a suit with the Osaka District Court in December 2003 calling for the deportation order to be quashed. However, the family lost their first and second hearings, and had their final appeal dismissed by the Supreme Court. The sisters’ parents and their Japan-born third daughter were deported to China, while Kana and Yoko continued to attend a high school in Osaka Prefecture.
(Mainichi Japan) October 10, 2009
毎日新聞 2009年10月10日 1時39分（最終更新 10月10日 9時05分）
5 comments on “JK: recent moves by Japan’s Immigration Bureau that seem like loosening but not really”
With such a case where a justice minister basically gives the middle finger to the supreme court, some fear that the new DPJ government essentially wants to throw out the “separation of powers” philosophy right out the window, as also illustrated in the following quote from a reception:
Kan Naoto of DPJ quoted here saying the new government will have both “legislative and executive powers (立法権と行政権の両方を預かる).”
Is this a sign that the DPJ is taking a strong stance to crush the old hellish system, or is it a sign of a possible coming one-party dictatorship like the good-old China? That will probably depend on where you stand in J politics…
— Less preferable than the previous one-party “dictatorship” for the past fifty or so years? Or the dictatorship of unelected bureaucrats telling LDP ministers what to announce as policy statements?
We don’t have an executive branch here anyway. Dunno how we’re knocking down a wall separating powers here.
And I don’t know what this comment is doing under this heading, anyway.
The Mainichi isn’t very diligent when translating their articles.
“Jiaochun” isn’t their surname — two-character surnames are very rare in China, particularly among Han people. In fact, 焦 (Jiao in pinyin; Chiao in Wade-Giles) is their surname; both of the daughters happen to have “chun” (春) as the first character in their given names, and the Mainichi’s editors were being sloppy.
This article in the Asahi separates their surname from their given names correctly:
In Chinese, Kana’s given name is “Chunliu” and Yoko’s is “Chunyang” (in both romanizations).
I’d like to see news reporters make more of an effort to get the names of the subjects of their stories correct. It makes it look like the reporter never even spoke to them.
(If I’m wrong about their names, Debito, I’ll gladly retract.)
— I doubt you are wrong (you damned linguists rarely are in these cases). The Japanese media (well, many print medias dealing with a foreign language, anywhere) is notoriously sloppy with getting names right. The difference is that many overseas media retract or correct if they get the names wrong. I’ve never had that happen in Japan.
On the one hand, being able to provide for yourself and your family is a requirement for just about any visa, so if the father wasn’t making enough money in the government’s eyes, I can see why his visa wasn’t renewed. But if he (or someone) is paying two college tuitions, wouldn’t that amount of income be seen as enough? Couldn’t the girls get college student visas?
The family was eligible for permanent residency a couple of years ago too… were they rejected, or just didn’t apply?
Without knowing the details it’s hard to feel one way or the other about the decision to deport the family. But the decision to allow the girls to stay, along with the case of Noriko Calderon, seems like a step in the right direction. One of my Japanese friends has a French husband who overstayed his visa and somehow managed to renew it a month after it had expired last year, too… I’d never heard of an overstayer being forgiven until then. It at least seems that immigration cases are being looked at on a more case-by-case basis now. Whether that’s a good thing or not probably depends on the individual case though.
These girls will probably be able to get jobs and apply for their PR or naturalization eventually. But their father, and many others I’m sure, are getting the short end of the stick.
Wait, so the cabinet and the prime minister are not the executive branch of the Japanese government? If not, what are they?
— Do your homework. There are three branches of government in Japan. Legislative (rippoufu), Administrative (gyouseifu), and Judicial (shihoufu).
I don’t know the exact difference between the Japanese “administrative” branch and the “executive” branch of other countries, but in that case it was my bad for mistranslation. Kan Naoto used the word “gyouseiken (administrative powers)” in the above quote, and I translated that as executive. Sorry about that.