Hello Blog. Returning home tomorrow after a long four days on the road, with three days of eight-hour classes on Debate to about 65 students in Nagoya. Gave a speech today at Japan Women’s University in Tokyo. Nice crowd. Writing you from an internet cafe in Shinjuku.
Updating the Kitakyushu exclusionary restaurant issue a few weekends ago (see https://www.debito.org/?p=69), I got a call this afternoon from the Kitakyushu City International Affairs Desk (kokusai kouryuu bu), who got the letter I sent to the tourism desk.
They said that they called the restaurant in question and got an assurance from the manager that this sort of thing will not happen again. Very good. Thanks. Glad they’re responding both to the problem and to the letter.
Bests, Debito in Shinjuku
UPDATE NOV 19 AND 27 2006
The Bureau of Human Rights at the Kitakyushu Ministry of Justice (093-561-3542) also phoned me to get details on exactly who was refused and to clarify details. I told them the exact name on Nov 27 after receiving permission from the victim. So there you go. All we need now is a letter from the Mayor’s office and we’ve got a hat trick. Debito in Sapporo
UPDATE DEC 11 2006
(Just sent this to the person who got refused at the restaurant.–Debito)
I just got a call from the Fukuoka Houmukyoku Jinken Yougobu Kitakyushu Shikyoku (Fukuoka Ministry of Justice Kitakyushu Division of the Bureau of Human Rights, and talked to a Mr Uehara.
He says he wants to talk to you directly about what happened. I told him I didn’t know your language level etc. or exactly where you live. But his contact details are 093-561-3542. Call him if you like and he will call you back.
In the course of our conversation, it became clear that he hadn’t talked to the restaurant yet, more than a month after this whole thing happened. He wanted to get our story straight before he approached them. I told them that I was too initially refused, so whether or not you talked to the Bureau directly should be irrelevant. He’s talking to me, and I was refused too, so talk to the restaurant to confirm our story already, it’s been a month. He said that he wanted to talk to you first too. This went on for about twenty minutes or so, so I at least said I would pass this information on to you. Here you go.
I hate dealing with bureaucrats who have no stomach for their job. They say they need to hear both sides. But then they say they won’t hear the other side until they are satisfied that they heard all of one side. I said I should suffice as one side, in any case. They disagree. So there you go. Please let me know whether or not you are amenable to talking to these bureaucrats?
Don’t worry–they’ll hold your name and information in confidence. Trust me–the BOHR has even refused to let me see my own file for a separate case cos they argued that I would violate my own privacy…
Absolutely useless organization, this. Debito
UPDATE DEC 22, 2006
I got yet another call from the Fukuoka BOHR this afternoon–yes, Mr Uehara again!
He says that he wants to talk to my contact, and wouldn’t I please contact him again? I said I would. And asked him to contact the goddamn restaurant. He won’t until he gets all the information from my contact. And if my contact doesn’t contact him by January 10? Then he’ll listen to my side of the story as evidence.
Soon be two months and counting. I’ll say it again–the BOHR is absolutely useless. Debito
1 comment on “Update to Kitakyushu Exclusionary Restaurant: Calls from City Int’l Affairs Desk and Bureau of Human Rights”
UPDATE JAN 4, 2007
(from the partner of the person originally refused entry):
we called Mr. Uehara at the Department of Human Rights today and spoke to him. He said he didn’t speak English and asked me to translate, but he ended up speaking English just fine. We told him what happened the night of the incident. He asked us if the man J. saw eye him before turning him away was the manager, but of course there was no way for J. to know that other than the fact that the waiter when to talk to him when J. asked for a table. He also asked us if he had a reservation and he didn’t.
He told us they were not like the police and that he couldn’t garantee that the manager would apologize to J.. Maybe that’s symbolic for more, but all we really care about is making sure he doesn’t turn away other people of international descent. If all this is so we can get an apology from the manager, then they’ve totally missed the point.
The manager said he would try not to turn away internationals in the future, so rather than an apology, it would be cool to have his assurances that something like this won’t happen again. Can you make sure they understand that that is more important.
Thanks for all your hard work with this, and everything else you do. We really enjoy reading your newsletters and keeping up to date with everything you do.
Anyway, hope this helps!
By the way, Happy New Year!