Hi Blog. About to jump on my bicycle again for a few days and catch the tail-end of the Hokkaido summer, but here’s a link to a Japan Times article on the Valentine Case, which came out shortly before my last cycle trip.
Japan Times column: “ABUSE, RACISM, LOST EVIDENCE DENY JUSTICE IN VALENTINE CASE: Nigerian’s ordeal shows that different standards apply for foreigners in court” (August 14, 2007).
Column 37 for the Japan Times Community Page
More information and documentation on this case at http://www.debito.org/valentinelawsuit.html
In 1999, a Brazilian resident of Japan named Milton Higaki was involved in an accident that killed a schoolgirl. Rather than face justice in Japan, he fled to Brazil fearing “discrimination as a foreigner in Japanese courts.”
Although the domestic media quickly saw this as a case of crooked-foreigner-as-flight-risk, human rights attorney Yasuko Morioka took a more nuanced view, criticizing Japan’s “lack of legal hearings that consider the rights of foreign(ers).”
While fleeing from justice is not to be condoned, cases like Higaki’s are more understandable considering the increasing awareness of the scarier aspects of Japan’s judicial system.
Not only is the United Nations aware of the potential for torture in Japan’s prisons (more below), but courts here also tend to use different judicial standards when coming to decisions in cases involving non-Japanese.
Consider the Valentine case…
Meanwhile, next Tuesday, August 28 (Wednesday in the provinces) will see my next column coming out in the Japan Times Community Page, on how NJ are being blamed for just about anything these days, and how that adversely affects any possible assimilation.
Enjoy. Arudou Debito in Sapporo