Speech at Waseda Jan 22, 5PM, on Japan’s Immigration and Human Rights Record


Hi Blog. As promised, here are the details of my upcoming speech Tuesday evening, speaking with Amnesty and Waseda professor in a joint roundtable. Attend if you like. I’m speaking for 20 minutes… Debito in Tokyo

JANUARY 22, 2008 5PM

Implications of Japanese domestic human rights record (for foreign residents or Japanese) on Asian Integration

Implications of Domestic Human Rights Practices on Asian Regional Integration

ARUDOU Debito (BA Cornell, 1987; MPIA UC San Diego, 1991) is a naturalized Japanese citizen and Associate Professor at Hokkaido Information University. A human rights activist, he has authored two books, Japaniizu Onrii–Otaru Onsen Nyuuyoku Kyohi Mondai to Jinshu Sabetsu and its English version (Akashi Shoten 2003 and 2004, updated2006), and is currently at work on a bilingual handbook for immigrants to Japan. He also puts out a regular newsletter and columns for The Japan Times. His extensive bilingual website on human rights issues and living in Japan is available at https://www.debito.org

Japan is at another one of those crossroads–where it could either head down the path of other developed countries, accepting migration and immigration as a natural part of global interdependence (preserving an economic and demographic vitality), or else become an economic backwater with an aged society, leapfrogged by China as Asia’s regional representative to the world. Official trends, including increased registering, policing, and scare campaigns towards non-Japanese entrants and residents, have tended towards the latter. However, the last two decades of economic and labor policy have been clearly towards importing unskilled workers to replace Japanese in the less savory 3K industries. This gap has made work and living conditions for many non-Japanese in Japan unequal and difficult, as they receive few constitutional or legal protections against discrimination. Moreover, many receive no labor rights whatsoever by dint of their visa. The speaker, an activist, columnist, and author on issues of discrimination, will discuss his research and activism. He will also allude to how Japan’s treatment of migrants and immigrants is a reflection of its attitudes towards its Asian neighbors, and towards regional cooperation and integration in this age of globalization and economic interdependence.
Presentation in English


「Implications of Japanese domestic human rights record (for foreign residents or Japanese) on Asian Integration from the perspective of an NGO and in particular Amnesty International Japan」

Sonoko Kawakami, Official Representative, Amnesty International Japan
川上園子 (E-mail:ksonoko@amnesty.or.jp)
社団法人アムネスティ・インターナショナル日本 (ホームページ:http://www.amnesty.or.jp/)
★アムネスティ・メールマガジンのお申し込みはこちらから! http://www.amnesty.or.jp/) http://secure.amnesty.or.jp/campaign/
Presentation in Japanese



Associate Professor Yasushi Katsuma
Field of specialization:
Peace and Human Security; International Human Rights; Theories of Social Development; United Nations Studies

Prof. Katsuma was a consultant for Japanese ODA, conducting development research in Asia and Latin America. After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, based on his dissertation study in Bolivia, Prof. Katsuma joined the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and worked in Mexico, Afghanistan/Pakistan and Tokyo, as international civil servant. Based on his experiences both in the academia and in the practice of international cooperation, Prof. Katsuma hopes to support the academic training necessary for those who wish to contribute to the international community. He also believes that it is important to approach the global issues from the perspective of the most vulnerable people, linking academic theories with empirical data from the field.

日時 :   2008年 1月 22日(火)   午後 5時~7時
Date :   Tuesday January 22     17:00~19:00
会場 :   西早稲田 ビル 19号館 710号室  
Venue :   Sodai-Nishiwaseda Bldg 19 Room 710    
主催 / Organized by :  WUDSN  協力 / Supported by :  GIARI
申込不要、自由入場  /  Open to public, Free of Charge

2 comments on “Speech at Waseda Jan 22, 5PM, on Japan’s Immigration and Human Rights Record

  • Regarding Sakanaka’s ‘Small Japan’, I find it hard to reconcile these points:

    1. “Income per person rises. People lead rich lives with a three-day working week.”

    2. “They will also have to bear increased payments and reduced benefits to support the social security system as the birthrate falls and the population grays.”

    3. “The economy is in decline and taxes are higher. Savings rates are lower, as is the asset value of land.”

    Points 2 and 3 are in direct contradiction of point 1.

    Also with this excerpt:

    “The robotization of simple tasks is taken as far as possible, making Japan a country of robots.”

    Sakanaka assumes that robots can be developed economically to do these “simple tasks”. This is not a given. For those of us who grew up in the 70’s we were told of a beautiful future of flying cars and cheap energy. These have not come to pass yet, and we are 8 years past the mythical ‘Year 2000’ which promised these and more.

    It seems foolhardy to rely on the old dream of the robot servant as a part of a proposed national policy.


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