UN News: UNHCR urges HRC to begin reviews of every country’s human rights record

UN News agency press release reports: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today urged the Human Rights Council to press forward with its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, which allows the human rights records of every country to be scrutinized. Under this new mechanism, over the course of four years, all UN Member States – at the rate of 48 a year – will be reviewed to assess whether they have fulfilled their human rights obligations.

UN passes resolution on indigenous peoples (hello Ainu, Ryukyuans)

Sorry for not talking about the Abe resignation (truth is, I don’t know what to say. Yet. Nor does anyone, really). Instead, germane to Debito.org is that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been approved after more than two decades of debate. This may become a historical event, especially given the indigenous peoples in Japan (Ainu, Ryukyuans) and their lack of official recognition (in 1997, the Ainu received tentative recognition for their aboriginal status from the GOJ, not that it meant they got any money or special favors for it).

Fun Facts #8: Stuff gleaned from Seidensticker’s “Tokyo Rising”

Been stampeding through the late Edward Seidensticker’s book TOKYO RISING, and these are some fun facts that popped up for Debito.org: On the unaccountable Tokyo police, their targeting of the sangokujin, and Japan’s postwar prosperity kickstarted by the Korean War. Very quick review of the book at the very bottom too.

TPR editorial on SNAFU at MOFA: Uyoku disrupt human rights meeting

A hearing on human rights is disrupted by right-wingers

In 1995, Japan signed the United Nations Convention against all forms of Racial Discrimination. By doing so, it promised “without delay” to take all measures, including legislation, to eliminate racial discrimination within its borders. However, more than a decade later, Japan still has not passed any laws against discrimination by race. And as the spread of “Japanese Only” signs and rules nationwide attests, laws are sorely needed.

So is the urge to come clean. Under this treaty, the Japanese government must submit a report every two years on what it is doing to eliminate racial discrimination. It is mighty late, filing its first report, due in 1998, in 2001. And it has filed no reports since then.

In preparation for the next report, and to avoid charges that the bureaucrats were not listening to the public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has held open hearings, attended over the years by NGOs and “concerned citizens”. The latest meeting took place yesterday afternoon, August 31, and I attended. It was, in a word, a disaster…

Tangent: Rebecca Walker on the “Identity Police”

Hi Blog. Friend Michael Fox sent me this article from Heeb Magazine, Issue 13. An interview with Writer/Activist Rebecca Walker. Now, while the focus may be on how one person grew up straddling two cultures within the same country (Black and Jewish), the points she makes about having a healthy attitude towards people who would …

J Times on new Justice Minister Hatoyama Kunio

The new Justice Minister Hatoyama tells the Japan Times he intends to reverse former Minister Nagase’s proposal for a revolving-door guest worker program. Instead, he proposes more skilled NJ labor (okay) and expresses fears about more NJ crime (not okay). Again, people in charge of this field are ignoring the need for immigration.

GOJ Cabinet’s odd survey on human rights 2007

In August 2007, the PM Cabinet released the results of its survey on the awareness of human rights in Japan. Done every 4 years, it demonstrated that more people believe that NJ deserve the same human rights as other humans in Japan (thanks, I guess)–up after a declilne in 1999 and 2003. However, given the vague, leading, and misleading questions, the survey is most enlightening when viewed in regards to just how clueless even our government professionals are about the portrayal and promotion of human rights in Japan.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 8, 2007

1) DISCRIMINATION AT “HOLIDAY SPORTS CLUB” CHAIN, BY JIM DUNLOP
2) TPR ON US HR 151 ON COMFORT WOMEN, AND WHY IT’S NOT A BAD THING
3) THE IDUBOR CASE: INCARCERATION WITHOUT EVIDENCE, WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
4) MOFA ALLOWS CONVICTED DISRUPTER INTO HUMAN RIGHTS MEETING (UPDATED)
5) THREE JAPAN TIMES COLUMNS ONLINE
… along with RESPONSE TO DOREEN SIMMONS ON ASASHORYU SCANDAL
6) IJUUREN PUBLISHES NGO POLICY PROPOSALS ON MINORITIES IN JAPAN
and finally…
7) GREGORY CLARK DEFENDS PM MIYAZAWA’S CORRUPTION, AND MY RESPONSE

Tangent: Greg Clark JT column defends Miyazawa’s corruption

Last July, Gregory Clark wrote an epitaph-style Japan Times column about his old friend, former Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi, who was facing mixed reviews in the J press at the time of his death for not dealing with the Bubble Economy properly. Greg defends his old friend with aplomb. So much so that he excuseth too much, in my opinion–even Kiichi’s corruption. First Greg’s column, then my unpublished letter to the editor in response.

J Today/Shuukan Shinchou on Ikebukuro Police’s “Gaijin Hostess Hunt”

Shuukan Shinchou: “During June, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and Immigration Bureau staged a series of joint crackdowns on these so-called “gaijin clubs” in Kinshicho and Ikebukuro, in search of visa violators. ”From June 15 to 18, the authorities mobilized 370 staff to conduct raids, including house searches,” an unnamed reporter at a city desk tells the magazine. “This was the largest raid they’ve conducted in quite some time. They went after Russian clubs and made 14 arrests, and remanded 35 more women to immigration on visa violation charges.”

Human Rights Violations at a J Gym Chain: “Young, Healthy Japanese Only” By Jim Dunlop

Holiday Sports Club is a chain of gyms/exercise centers all across Japan. http://www.holiday-sc.jp/ There are about 33 locations spanning Honshu and one in Hokkaido… This also happens to be the club where my wife and I are currently members). Since we joined this gym, a number of issues have arisen that I think need to be made public and brought to the attention of anyone who may be considering supporting this business. Be aware, that if you are either a foreigner, or have any sort of physical disability, you may be discriminated against, or even prevented from joining…

Japan Times on Asashoryu and the National NJ Blame Game (UPDATED)

Two recent Japan Times Community Page articles (one co-written by friend James Eriksson) discuss how Sumo wrestler Asashoryu might be being scapegoated by the Japan Sumo Association for its own excesses, and how Japan is trying too hard to blame the NJ community for social problems no longer limited to crime: Try military security, education, sports uncompetitiveness, even shipping! Updated to include Doreen Simmons KTO essay on Asa with comment.

Transcript of disrupted MOFA Aug 31 07 hearing blogged

As further evidence that the GOJ has little interest in enforcing its own guidelines (or at least those secured when it signed the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination), information has surfaced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allowed in a convicted agent provocateur into the August 31, 2007 meeting on Japan’s response to the UN treaty. Moreover (as a link to a transcript of the meeting will demonstrate), MOFA officials did not stop him and his ilk from shutting down the meeting. Appeals to other government ministries with appropriate powers look futile.

外務省:人種差別撤廃条約政府報告に関する意見交換会07年8月31日:議会記録(抜粋)

07年8月31日外務省における人種差別撤廃条約政府報告に関する意見交換会の脚本です(抜粋)。草の根右翼の野次で中断となりました。

REPORT: Right-wingers disrupt Aug 31, 2007 MOFA meeting on CERD

On August 31, 2007, a public meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Tokyo was disrupted and sabotaged by right-wing troublemakers. Shouting epithets and arguments designed to wind up the human-rights NGOs, the unidentified right-wingers managed to bring the meeting to a standstill, while the six ministries attending the meeting showed a complete inability to keep the meeting under control. Proceedings ended a half hour early without hearing the opinions of all the attendees, and my opinion is mixed on whether or not the impasse could have been avoided by not taking the bait. In any case, it is a sign to this author that the ultraconservative elements within Japan are not only taking notice of the gain in traction for human rights in Japan, they are doing their best to throw sand in the deliberation process. We will have to develop a thicker skin towards these elements in future, as this is probably only the beginning.

COUNTERPOINT: Sumo’s Scapegoating of Asashoryu

The persecution of Yokozuna sumo wrestler Asashoryu is all a diversion from the real story: That Sumo’s house of cards is being shaken. We have a death deterring people from joining a system with institutionalized bullying, renewed allegations of bout fixing, the very real possibility of bodybuilding chemicals banned in most world sports, and the entirely possible death of the Sumo’s credibility that the Ohnaruto Scandal of 1996 would have done a lot sooner…

Japan Times Aug 14 on Valentine Case, plus new JT column Aug 28

Japan Times article on the Valentine Case, which came out August 14, 2007: Japan Times column 37: “ABUSE, RACISM, LOST EVIDENCE DENY JUSTICE IN VALENTINE CASE: Nigerian’s ordeal shows that different standards apply for foreigners in court”. Plus news on new JT column 38, coming out next week Tuesday.

Summer Tangent: EW on the “Giving ‘The People’ what they want” fallacy

Excellent essay on the entertainment industry: “In the movie business, there are several ways to spot a lie. Some involve math: For instance, the sentence ”The movie was great — it was just marketed badly,” which is said every hour in Hollywood, is true exactly 3 percent of the time, whereas ”The movie was bad — it was just marketed really well,” which is almost never said, is true 97 percent of the time. Some lies are formulaic: Anybody in movies who starts a sentence ”At the end of the day…” is clearly revving up the manure spreader. But there’s an even more common lie. The sentence ”We’re just giving the people what they want,” when uttered by a studio executive, is always, always untrue. How can you tell? Easy: There’s no such thing as ”the people.” Not anymore…”

移住連06年版『外国籍住民との共生にむけて−−NGOからの政策提言』は英訳版出版

NGO移住労働者と連帯する全国ネットワークは06年に出版した『外国籍住民との共生にむけて−−NGOからの政策提言』の英訳版を出版しました。目次と注文する明細を。

TPR on why the passage of HR 121, “Comfort Women” Resolution, is not a bad thing

I listened last night to yet another excellent essay from Garrett DeOrio on HR 121 (the “Comfort Women” Resolution), and why its passage by the US House of Representatives is not a bad thing. What I didn’t know was all the “nicely, nicely” that went into it, and even then the Japan Lobby in Washington came down on it hard. But in his view this “meddling” just made matters worse…

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 9, 2007

1) HIROSHIMA PEACE FOUNDATION STEVEN LEEPER’S ODD VIEWS ON NJ IN JAPAN
2) JAPAN TIMES SERIES ON DIVORCE AND CHILD ABDUCTION IN JAPAN
3) ECONOMIST’S SOPHOMORIC ARTICLE ON J FUTURE DEMOGRAPHICS
4) KYODO AND YOMIURI ON JAPAN’S NEGLIGENCE EDUCATING NJ CHILDREN
5) UCLA BASKEBALL PLAYER NATURALIZES… SO DOES BOBBY OLOGUN
6) WHILE DPRK REFUGEES REMAIN STATELESS DESPITE FUJIMORI PRECEDENT
7) SPEECH ON UNIVERSITY BLACKLIST AT TOUDAI, PLUS NEW ADDITIONS

and finally…
8) TPR INTERVIEW RE NJ LABOR MARKET… AND MY LOVE OF DURAN DURAN

Hiroshima Peace Foundation Director Steven Leeper’s odd views on NJ in Japan

Normally I would proclaim “congratulations” at the momentous appointment of a non-Japanese to be director of an important Japanese institution–particularly when said institution is tasked with an issue the GOJ brings up constantly in its untiring quest for uniqueness in the world stage (“the only country in history ever to be bombed by nuclear weapons”). But Steven Leeper, the newly-appointed director of the Hiroshima Peace and Culture Foundation, is proving to be a historical curator with an odd attitude not only towards history, but also towards non-Japanese in Japan (a category he still falls into, of course)…

TPR podcast on NJ Labor Market and Duran Duran

In this Trans Pacific Radio interview Debito and Ken Worsley discuss the foreign labor market in Japan – where it’s united, where it’s fractious, and where it still needs help – as well as what is being done to improve conditions and opportunities for foreign workers, and what needs to be done in the future. This is an important issue that relates to Japan’s economic future, and immigration policy (or reform) still seems untouchable within the nation’s political discourse. Why is this so? But the interview opens with Debito trying to convince you why rock band Duran Duran is worth being taken seriously…

Blacklist: Kansai Gaidai, Shokei Gakuin, Kyushu U; Greenlist: Nagoya, Aichi U of E

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities gets Kyushu University, Shokei Gakuin U, and Kansai Gaidai, now totalling 105 universities which offers full-time contracted work with no hope of tenure to Non-Japanese academics. Greenlisted 34 get Nagoya University and Aichi University of Education (although they still refrain from a tenure review system, so they also remain on the Blacklist).

Brief: Visit to San’ya, Tokyo’s Homeless District

I briefly blogged last week that I was visiting San’ya, Tokyo’s day-laborer and homeless district, and was asked to write up a brief describing the dynamic, the conditions, and the odd infighting that comes with this odd slum. I make no case that my narrative is properly informed, empathetic, or representative. It’s just an eyewitness account from someone who stayed one night in the comfort of a dive hotel, with proper access to food and basic amenities. Those who wish to know more, links enclosed.

Recent articles on lack of compulsory education for NJ children

Hi Blog. Some articles substantiating the emerging issue of what happens when you don’t make compulsory education a requirement for non-Japanese children. How nice of Japan to bring NJ laborers all the way over here but not take care of their children’s educational needs. Thanks for forgetting to include that in your educational reforms last …

「日本語知らぬ」22000人 公立小中高校の外国人 過去最多 九州・山口は423人

「日本語知らぬ」22000人 公立小中高校の外国人  過去最多 九州・山口は423人 8月1日10時7分配信 西日本新聞 http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20070801-00000009-nnp-soci Courtesy of Matt Dioguardi  九州・山口の公立小中高校に在籍し、日本語の指 導が必要な外国人児童生徒が昨年9月現在で計42 3人に上り、4分の1の105人は指導自体を受け ていないことが31日、文部科学省の調査で分かっ た。全国では同児童生徒が2万2413人と過去最 高に達し、14%が指導を受けていないことも判明 した。同省は対策を検討する有識者会議を設置、9 月に初会合を開く予定。  日系人労働者の増加などが要因。日本語の理解が 乏しい児童生徒は愛知が最多で4089人。次いで 神奈川2404人、静岡2343人、東京1762 人の順だった。全体で前年同期より8%増え、4年 連続の増加となった。  九州・山口では、福岡が211人と最多。次いで 熊本55人▽山口41人▽大分36人▽鹿児島26 人▽宮崎22人▽長崎21人▽佐賀11人‐だった。  母国語別では、全体でポルトガルが38、5%と トップ。中国、スペインを含む3つの言語で全体の 7割以上を占めた。九州・山口では、同児童生徒の 数が横ばい傾向にあるものの、中国が全体の4割を 占め、日中関係の緊密化がうかがえた。  各自治体は、日本語指導員の派遣や特別講義など に取り組んでいるが、「財政難で教員増は難しい。 児童生徒の在籍期間が短い場合もあり、中長期的対 応は取りにくい」(熊本県教委)との声も上がって いる。 =2007/08/01付 西日本新聞朝刊= ENDS

Economist on Japan’s future demographics: No mention of NJ labor influx

Here’s a really sophomoric article from The Economist, which discusses Japan’s future demographics, yet mentions NOT A WORD about the influx of foreign labor. Why is a magazine as thoughtful The Economist sticking its head in the sand on this issue, and even resorting to the “grown-up children who call themselves adult Japanese men” stereotypes by the conclusion of this article? The Economist should not ignore global labor mobility, which (with closing on a million NJ workers in Japan) is definitely a factor in Japan’s future demography. Just like in any other developed country. Wish people would stop assuming that Japan is uniquely able to resolve all of this by itself.

Quick update from Debito in Tokyo: Blacklist, Sanya, JT

Quick update on what’s going on: Still in Tokyo, extending one more day. Links to last night’s speech Powerpoint (E and J) on the BLACKLIST OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIES, given before even the Ministry of Education, plus a bit on a visit to Sanya and my next JT article. Yes, I’ll eat some crow over the UH election after I return to Sapporo tomorrow.

TPR: Election Day Prognostications by Arudou Debito

Trans Pacific Radio put up last night an interview with me about how I think today’s election will turn out. In sum: I think Abe will have to resign over the poor performance of the LDP in this election. He’s had one of the worst cabinets in Japan’s postwar history, and he’s definitely become a political liability (to the point where at least one poll indicates a majority believe we should have a snap election in the Lower House now too). Have a listen…

Yomiuri: Nikkei defecting from DPRK are stateless, have trouble becoming J citizens

“At least 24 defectors from North Korea living in Japan remain stateless, largely due to the lack of clear government guidelines on how to determine their nationalities. The statelessness of the 24 people, children or grandchildren of one Japanese citizen and a North Korean, is a result local governments being left to their own devices on how to deal with the registration of the defectors. Nationality law would otherwise grant them citizenship, since Japan confers nationality by blood, but politics inevitably gets in the way.” Contrast with wanted criminal candidate Alberto Fujimori and you really get a confusing application of Japanese citizenship laws…

UN.ORG on pushes to make sure HRC holds all countries accountable

he UN News has been issuing press releases to make sure the Human Rights Council doesn’t become as emasculated as the former Human Rights Commission–by holding all countries accountable with periodic reviews of their human rights records.

Good. Japan in particular is particularly remiss, given its quest for a seat on the UNSC without upholding its treaty obligations, particularly regarding Japan’s refusal to pass a law against racial discrimination, and file reports in a timely manner (last report was due the HRC all the way in 2002!). The UN is quite well aware of this, and has been highly critical of Japan’s unfettered racism in recent years. UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene has been well recorded on the Debito.org Blog as well.

Japanese TV drama Hana Yori Dango 2 depicts mugging by NYC blacks

Popular J drama Hana Yori Dango 2 has heroine being mugged by black gang armed with basketball, and saved by kakkou-ii J guy armed with squirt pistol. Why isn’t this worthy of ignoring as merely bad Japanese TV? Because you just know that if an American TV show were to do this sort of thing–make all the [fill in the blank] Asians, Chinese, or Japanese (with accents or stereotypical features to boot)–there would be complaints from either the local anti-defamation leagues or even the Japanese embassy (cf. New York Senator Alphonse D’Amato making fun of Judge Lance Ito’s Japanese ethnicity in 1995). And definitely a brouhaha on 2-Channel about how the West is oh so racist towards Japanese. Details on how to complain if you want…

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 20, 2007

1) BLACKLIST UPDATES: HOKKAI GAKUEN & CHUUGOKU U. ICU GREENLISTED
2) JAPAN TIMES: LABOR ABUSES AT AKITA INT’L UNIVERSITY
3) YOMIURI: MOJ BARS NIKKEI BRAZILIAN FROM VOLUNTEER POLICE WORK
4) J WEDDING FUNDS OFF-LIMITS TO FOREIGNERS, er, NON-FAMILY MEMBERS
5) JAPAN’S ODD TOURISM POLICY: YOKOSO JAPAN AND MONEY LAUNDERING
6) TPR ON KYUUMA, CUMINGS ON DPRK, TAWARA ON EDUCATION LAW
7) JAPAN FOCUS ON AMENDMENTS TO BASIC LAW OF EDUCATION
8) FOREIGN POLICY MAG ON GOJ AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

and finally…
9) UPCOMING SPEECH AT TOKYO UNIVERSITY ON UNIV. BLACKLIST, MONDAY, JULY 30

Asahi and JT on Alberto Fujimori’s J Diet candidacy, with commentary

Asahi on wanted criminal suspect Alberto Fujimori Diet candicacy: “[W]e are surprised at the news that a former president of a foreign country will run for the Upper House election. Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, 68, decided to run as a proportional representation candidate of Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) for the July 29 election… But we definitely do not think [they have given] a good enough reason for anointing him as the party’s Upper House candidate….” Cyberspace commentary on what his case means for dual nationality in Japan also blogged.

J Times column on Hair Police and NJ educational underclass

Japan Times Community Page column 36: “The bellwether of any country’s internationalization is the altered composition of the school population. Many of Japan’s immigrant children are becoming an underclass, deprived of an education for being born different than the putative ‘Japanese standard’.”

J Focus on PM Abe’s Fundamental Education Law reforms

Japan Focus academic website: “Much criticism of the amended education law has focused on statements clearly privileging the state over the individual; that is, statements affirming civil liberties still appear, often unchanged, from the original version, but are often undercut and diluted by new language. Perhaps more importantly, however, what makes the amended version of the law appear less a legal document than an expression of authoritarian will is not so much what is said, but how it is said. That is, the language of mystique and belief makes the very notion of individual rights seem anachronistic at best. For this reason the amended version is not a reflection of a democratic and constitutionally law-driven society but resembles in content and in intent the Edict, a product of a wartime regime.”

Valentine Lawsuit: NPA denies medical treatment to suspect, Tokyo Dist. Court rules testimony invalid due to witness being African

NPA denies medical treatment to Nigerian in custody with broken leg, latter becomes crippled. Nigerian plaintiff sues, but Tokyo District Court rules against him. Also overrules Plaintiff’s friend’s witness testimony invalid because he is African, an Plaintiff’s doctor’s medical opinion on the egregiousness of Plaintiff’s injuries as “not rational”. Fact is, coupling this lawsuit outcome with the McGowan “I don’t like black people” Osaka Eyeglass Store Case, not only do NJ increasingly have different standards of evidence in J courts, but now The NPA clearly can do pretty much whatever they want to NJ in custody, even if it causes permanent damage. Case is under appeal.