Hi Blog. Another in a series on how warped the judicial system here can get, with its overreliance on confession (as opposed to gathering evidence). To the point where we have a rare case of a former judge cracking and spilling his guts over a case, giving us some insight on how a panel of …
A recently-added series of YouTube videos about the Right Wing in Japan, in five parts. Not sure who produced this, but I found it a fascinating insight into the people behind the sound trucks. And it opens with them lecturing NJ in Roppongi on how to behave in Japan (something I found really quite rich…). As I believe Japan is lurching rightward in recent years, this is worthy of a viewing to see what the extreme version wants. What follows is the write-up on the series from the person who YouTubed the series. In Japanese with English subtitles. Somebody put a lot of work into making this series accessible to the outside world…
In the newly opened Chukiren Peace Museum, the 80-year old curator, Fumiko Niki, is among a small group of activists and academics who have spent years compiling a depository of records that they say proves the enormity of the imperial army’s war crimes before and during World War II. The effort to remember that history is being lost in a growing revisionist tide, she fears. “We are in a very dangerous period,” says Ms. Niki. “Awareness of Japan’s role in wartime is fading.”
1) IPS ON JAPAN XENOPHOBIA’S EFFECT ON ECONOMIC GROWTH
2) KTO ON GAIJIN HANZAI AND SEXING UP FOREIGN CRIME FIGURES
3) NYT ON FORCED CONFESSIONS BY JAPANESE POLICE
4) LUCIE BLACKMAN’S ALLEGED KILLER ACQUITTED, ODDLY
5) ANTHONY BIANCHI REELECTED TO INUYAMA CITY ASSEMBLY
6) PEACE AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE CONFERENCE, KYOTO, SUBMISSIONS DUE MAY 31
7) KYUSHU CYCLETREK 2007: REPORT OF THE 768-KM TRIP WITH PHOTOS
This is a little ditty about my recent 768 cycle around Kyushu during Golden Week 2007. Complete with maps and photos, have a gander if you want to see marathon cycling in all weather.
In all, 13 men and women, ranging in age from their early 50s to mid-70s, were arrested and indicted. Six buckled and confessed to an elaborate scheme of buying votes with liquor, cash and catered parties. One man died during the trial — from the stress, the others said — and another tried to kill himself. But all were acquitted this year in a local district court, which found that their confessions had been entirely fabricated. The presiding judge said the defendants had “made confessions in despair while going through marathon questioning.” The Japanese authorities have long relied on confessions to take suspects to court, instead of building cases based on solid evidence. Human rights groups have criticized the practice for leading to abuses of due process and convictions of innocent people.
Kansai Time Out reports on GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine, and about how the media sexes up foreign crime. It’s what we’ve been saying for years now, but glad somebody else is still beating the drum.
Peace as a Global Language is having their Sixth Annual Conference this October in Kyoto. Deadline for submissions to speak is May 31. I submitted four potential talks this morning…
Here’s another article outlining the social damage created by Japan’s close-to-a-decade (since April 2000, see my book JAPANESE ONLY) of media, police, and governmental targeting of NJ as agents of crime and social instability: Even when the press finally decides to turn down the heat, the public has a hard time getting over it.
Back from 768 kms cycling around Kyushu, brief update for now.
Quick post from Nagasaki on kilometer 548 of my Kyushu cycletrek, to let everyone know all is well.
John Dower: Children’s games can provide a barometer of their times. With consumer of any sort still in the distant future, youngsters were thrown back on their imaginations, and their play became a lively measure of the obsessions of adult society. Not long before, boys in particular had played war with a chilling innocence of what they were being encouraged to become. They donned headbands and imagined themselves piloting the planes that would, in fact, never return. They played at being heroic sailors long after the imperial navy began to be decimated. Armed with wooden spears and bayonets, they threw themselves screaming at mock-ups of Roosevelt and Churchill and pretended they were saving the country from the foreign devils . In defeat, there was no such clear indoctrination behind children’s games. Essentially, they played at doing what they saw grownups do. It was a sobering sight…
The alleged killer of hostess Lucie Blackman, whose body was found a short walk from serial racist and killer Obara Jouji, was aquitted of murdering Blackman due to “circumstantial evidence”. This in a system where circumstantial evidence has gone a long way in other verdicts which turned out guilty, and why does it increasingly seem like the police do a half-assed job when crime is committed against non-Japanese…?
Naturalized Japanese citizen Anthony Bianchi, originally from Brooklyn, New York, despite an unsuccessful mayoral bid last December, was reelected Sunday as an assembly member in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture.
David McNeill forwards me his latest article for the Irish Times. Not exactly a NJ issue, but an interesting round-up of one symptom of Japan’s re-emerging ultrarightism (which will by its nature affect NJ in future). One thing that David did not bring up–how this case is depicted not as an “assassination” (ansatsu), but a …
1) IMMIGRATION POLICY–KEIDANREN VS NATIVISTS: BOTH IGNORE NJ NEEDS
2) ACCENTURE GETS SWEETHEART DEAL TO TRACK NJ AT BORDERS
3) ECONOMIST: UNITED NATIONS “ADRIFT” ON HUMAN RIGHTS
4) KYODO: LEE SOO-IM, ETHNIC KOREAN-JAPANESE ACTIVIST
5) TIME: TOKYO HOUSING IN 1964 AND THE EMPOWERED KENSETSU ZOKU
6) RESPONSES TO DEBITO.ORG RE GAIJIN HANZAI MAG, ALEX KERR,
LEE’S ELECTORAL DEFEAT, AND TORUKO
LUNCHTIME SPEECH AT ICU (MITAKA, TOKYO) ON MONDAY, APRIL 23
The future of electronic surveillance of NJ first came to light on April 21, 2006, during questioning at the House of Representatives Committee on Judicial Affairs in the Japanese National Diet. Hosaka Nobuto of the Japan Social Democratic Party, a former journalist active in educational issues and one of the leaders in the fight against wiretapping laws in Japan, launched a barrage of questions at government officials over revelations that a contract for a new biometric immigration system had been awarded to Accenture Japan Ltd. The questions Hosaka put to the government on April 21st were undoubtedly some of the most important of his career, and yet, now nearly a year later, the story that he fought hard to publicize has barely made a ripple in the Japanese media, and remains virtually unknown to the outside world. GYAKU website aims to remedy that…
I’m giving a speech at lunchtime at International Christian University (Mitaka, near Tokyo) Monday, April 23, 2007 Lunch Time (12:50 – 13:40), East Room, ICU Cafeteria, on racial discrimination in Japan. Open to the public.
Fun Fact: “THE AVERAGE HEIGHT OF BUILDINGS IN TOKYO WAS 1.7 STORIES IN 1965”–and how I believe that has affected Japan’s housing quality to this day. Citing old TIME Magazine article as historical reference to how Japan’s high-growth had created a huge bubble economy and “rabbit hutch” housing market, and policy solutions shifted political power significantly towards the construction industry. And love the anecdote about the lack of space inhibiting conjugal relations…
I’ve been wanting to present the indicative Otaru Onsens Case to the HRC for some years now, but bureaucratic snafus, and warnings from my activist friends that doing so would probably be a disappointment, have kept me at bay. Meanwhile, these articles from The Economist keep coming out and offering bad news about the meetings I’ve missed.
Would be nice to believe that human rights, from the organization which has established some of the most important conventions and treaties in history, still matter in this day when rules seem grey, and even the most powerful country in the world dismisses long-standing international agreements as “outmoded” and “quaint”…
Lee Soo Im, professor at Ryukoku University, speaks at the Korea Society in New York about her life in Japan as a Zainichi Korean. ”I love Japan and fighting against the system is my way of showing patriotism to my country.” Lee, who recently co-edited ”Japan’s Diversity Dilemmas: Ethnicity, Citizenship, and Education” to highlight issues surrounding the country’s immigrant population, says there are no such thing as pure Japanese. A homogenous Japan is a myth built upon foreigners forced to live ”invisibly,” she says.
On April 10, 2007, civil rights groups including “Solidarity for Migrants Japan” (Imin Roudousha to Rentai suru Zenkoku Network) convened an assembly at the Diet’s Upper House Kaikan in Nagatacho, Tokyo, to protest a proposed revision to the labor laws requiring all companies to report their foreign workers to the authorities.
1) ANSWER FROM ALEX KERR re HIS JAPAN TIMES COMMENTS
2) TAKAHASHI SPEECH ON REMILITARIZING JAPAN AT U OF CHICAGO
3) LATEST CRAZINESS FROM J JUDICIARY: SURROGATE MOTHERHOOD
4) NATURALIZED KOREAN-J RUNS FOR OSAKA PREF ASSEMBLY
5) PROTEST RE LABOR BILL: COMPANIES MUST REPORT THEIR FOREIGN WORKERS
6) SUCCESSFUL PROTEST: CHANGING “TORUKO” TO “SOAPLAND”
7) JAPAN TIMES: SHIGA GOVERNOR BACKS ANTI-DISCRIM LAW
NORTHERN TERRITORIES DISPUTE… OVER A CASE OF BEER
Hi Blog. Great speech (available as a podcast from the link below) from the University of Chicago’s International and Area Studies Multimedia Outreach Service (CHIASMOS) (Thanks to Fiona for notifying me): ================================== “Postwar Japan on the Brink: Militarism, Colonialism, Yasukuni Shrine” by Professor Tetsuya Takahashi, University of Tokyo March 6, 2007 Professor Takahashi’s writings, including …
Lee Kyung Jae obtained Japanese nationality to bring the voices of foreign residents to local and national politics. Running for a seat in the Osaka prefectural assembly election Sunday, he is the first candidate of foreign origin who has run in a local or national election on a campaign to represent the interests of an ethnic group, according to the Korean Residents’ Union in Japan (Mindan). Results blogged on Debito.org.
Humor: A Russian fisherman catching sea urchins decided to “drop into” Japan quickly to buy beer and was arrested on Saturday for illegally entering the country. The incident took place in Nemuro on the eastern coast of Hokkaido close to the Southern Kuriles–creating a potentially tense diplomatic situation due to the disputed territory between Japan and Russia.
Article uncovered from the archives: Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada said August 23, 2006, that she generally supports the creation of a national law to ban racial discrimination. However, many people in the central government and business who are pushing for more foreign labor oppose legislating against discrimination. Some say it would be better to change the attitude of society to be more tolerant of foreigners.
THOUGHTS ON THE APRIL 8, 2007 ELECTION
1) WHAT’S IT LIKE TO VOTE IN JAPAN?
2) SOME UNOBVIOUS TRENDS THIS ELECTION
3) RESULTS WE CARE ABOUT AT DEBITO.ORG
Here’s a recent article from the Mainichi talking about a man who apparently single-handedly got the word “Toruko” (Turkish bath) signs removed from what are now “Soaplands” etc.–places which offer deluxe massages, if you will. I offer this up to show that once again, it is possible for one person to make a difference.
ブログの皆様、これは「一人でも社会を変えられる」との証しとして載せます。問題点があれば、泣き寝入りをすべからず、国が好きなら声を挙げて改善すべきですね。有道 出人。 ＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝＝ ひと：ヌスレットさん 特殊浴場の名称からトルコ外させた 毎日新聞 2007年4月7日 0時05分 http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/wadai/news/20070407k0000m070152000c.html 街並みを埋める看板やネオンに目をやる。２３年ぶりの東京・新宿は晴れやかだった。桜の花びらが舞う。「鳥になった気分ですよ。もう、うつむいて歩かなくていい」 ８１年、地震の研究でトルコから日本に留学して半年余り。夕暮れの新宿で母国の名前を見つけ、店に飛び込んだ。「ガイジンが来た」の声とともに数人の肌着姿の女性が現れた。この問題で母国と大好きな日本がぎくしゃくするのはたまらない。一緒に日本に滞在中の当時１９歳の妻、ハディエさんをおもんばかり、一人胸に抱え込んだ。 ある日、妻と地下鉄で帰宅する途中、老いた女性が「どこから来ましたか」と妻に尋ねた。日本語に不慣れの妻は「（彼と）トルコへ行きます」と答えた。女性は動揺して顔を赤らめた。その様子に妻も戸惑った。腹を決めて「トルコ（風呂）」を説明した。 「『うそよ』と繰り返す妻は、帰国すると言いました。私は『死ぬまでにこの呼び方は必ずなくす』と約束しました」 ８４年夏に再来日。政治家やメディアに訴える一方で本物のハマム（トルコの風呂）を伝えて行脚した。反響は瞬く間に広がり、数カ月後、街から「トルコ」の名称が消えた。 帰国後、日本への感謝の気持ちがふくらんだ。９２年、地元の大学に日本語学科の開設を働きかけた。自ら作った３冊の教本で巣立った若者は１５００人を超える。「この歴史を知らない人も増えましたが、私の心からの恩返しは続いています」【高尾具成】 【略歴】Ｎｕｓｒｅｔ Ｓａｎｃａｋｌｉ（ヌスレット・サンジャクリ）さん 地震研究家。モンテネグロで生まれ、６歳で母国トルコへ。手織りじゅうたん会社の顧問も務める。５３歳。 ENDS
Hi Blog. I covered some of this material in a previous post on the blog. However, for the newsletter I did a significant rewrite last night, describing how flippant and unresearched comments from a noteworthy person (Alex Kerr) can cause problems for others (particularly through unscrupulous anonymous editors on places like Wikipedia). I don’t want …
1) GAIJIN HANZAI PUBLISHER GOES BANKRUPT
2) METROPOLIS ON POLICE TREATMENT OF CRIMES AGAINST NJ
3) IRISH TIMES AND NYT ON J HISTORICAL REVISIONISM
4) “GUESTISM” PLACED IN A HISTORICAL CONTEXT
5) GET READY FOR A DIVORCE-RATE BOOM IN JAPAN
6) U OF HYOGO AND IUHW ADDED TO UNIVERSITY BLACKLIST
and finally… FUN FACTS! RE LOCAL GOVTS
Fukumimi reports that Eichi Shuppan, publisher of the infamous GAIJIN HANZAI magazine, has gone bankrupt. It is not, however, entirely due to the bath they took due to the successful boycott of the magazine–although it didn’t help. What was Eichi doing taking such a foolhardy risk–allegedly only for the sake of debate? Phooey. High risk, no return.
Japanese citizenship issue: According to a fascinating new blog by friend Joe Jones, we have yet another facet of Japanese citizenship up for dispute: If Japanese infertile couples seek Surrogate Motherhood overseas, the Supreme Court has ruled that citizenship is conferred not by DNA (after all, they didn’t have DNA tests back in the Meiji Era) but by whose womb the baby emerges. Better not outsource overseas. And because the parents refused to register their children on April 11, 2007, their kids are now foreigners.
Fun Facts: Minami Nihon Shinbun of February 12, 2007 offers a color-coded chart of how each of Japan’s 47 municipal governments stack up in terms of “Multicultural Coexistence” (tabunka kyousei)–behind the two other pillars the national government determined in March 2006 to be the backbone of Japan’s internationalization: “International Communication” (kokusai kouryuu), and “International Cooperation” (kokusai kyouryoku). The results…
Kicking off my first installment of FUN FACTS–an occasional series of interesting articles blogged for posterity. Asahi Shinbun of Feb 7, 2007 talks about PM Abe’s vision of “doushuusei”, the consolidation of prefectures, to cut down on local government costs and maybe even devolve more power to self-sufficient local governments. If Japan’s 47 local governments were cut down to eleven regions, this would produce the following results…
Here’s an article which will hopefully start the pendelum swinging backwards on the whole “foreigners are potential criminals” starting point whenever NJ interact which the police. Some advice follows from the US Embassy (gleaned after a recent email exchange over yet another case of post-assault police negligence) which would have made my closing comments a little more informative.
Foreigners who turn to Japan’s justice system for help find themselves ignored. Is incompetence to blame—or racism?
METROPOLIS MAGAZINE #677 MARCH 16, 2007
By Oscar Johnson
It’s business as usual as Japan Inc. takes on the world’s political arenas with spin doctoring over “Comfort Women” etc., to feint with the left hand while fiddling with the right. Distract with snow jobs while whitewashing the historical record. Only this time I think we’ve got enough people on the ground over here who know what our government is doing for a change. David McNeill releases an excellent article for the Irish Times, while Norimitsu Onishi, on an incredible roll these days, continues unearthing for the New York Times.
Hi Blog. I’ve written a few essays on the problems with divorce in Japan in the past. (see artery site at http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#divorce Well, the BBC is projecting the same thing as I have: that yesterday’s pension reforms are going to bring about a few changes in the artificially low divorce rates in Japan. Wait and …
1) SAKANAKA ESSAY ON NEW FRAMEWORK FOR J IMMIGRATION POLICIES
2) KEIDANREN WANTS MORE FOREIGNERS
3) NIIGATA PREF CITY TO ABOLISH “NATIONALITY CLAUSE”
4) TOKYO GOVERNORSHIP HEATS UP: ASANO DECRIES ISHIHARA’S XENOPHOBIA
5) PM ABE: “OK OK, I APOLOGIZE FOR THE ‘COMFORT WOMEN’ ALREADY”. KINDA.
6) FOREIGN MINISTER ASO: DIPLOMACY AS A MATTER OF HAIR AND EYE COLOR
7) MANUAL: BEWARE FOREIGN P*NISES! WITH CHART OF SIZES
8) DEBITO.ORG UPDATES: KARA KIKAN, NATURALIZATION, APARTMENT “SHIKIKIN” REFUND
9) MEDIA UPDATES: JET INTERVIEW, DEBITO.ORG MAKES JAPANZINE’S BEST FOR 2007
10) 2-CHANNEL UPDATE: NISHIMURA WILL PAY FINES “ONLY ON PAIN OF DEATH”
11) CONCLUDING GAIJIN HANZAI ISSUE WITH JT AND J FOCUS ARTICLES
and finally… JAPANESE ONLY T-SHIRTS ALSO ON SALE IN FRONT OF JR TOKYO STATION
A LOT of optimism attended the birth of the UN Human Rights Council, created last year by a 170-4 vote of the General Assembly. Whereas the United States kept on the sidelines (and confirmed this month it would stay away), many Western states saw the new body as an improvement on the discredited Human Rights Commission it replaced. But now some of the commission’s critics are fretting that the Geneva-based council may prove only a little better, or perhaps even worse, than its predecessor…
Good news. Local newspaper Niigata Nippou reports that another city government, Jouetsu, intends to abolish the “Nationality Clause” (kokuseki joukou), the guideline enforced by many local, regional, and national government agencies that only citizens may hold administrative positions (kanrishoku) in the Japanese civil service. This echoes similar moves in other Niigata Prefecture cities, including the Niigata City government as well. Bravo.
Interview up at BigDaikon, with discussion, and JapanZine mentions Debito.org in their annual roundup of the best of the net on Japan in their March 2007 issue.
Trace the Arc of Abe, from denial to hair-splitting to no comment to deflection to apology through his cabinet. However, belated apologies like this (just by simple human nature, apologies tend to mean less when they come after being demanded, especially over a long duration) will have the irony of a similar debate: Just how much “coercion” was there behind this? And how does this affect the sincerity of the act? Stay tuned.
I participated in a strike on March 24 in downtown Sapporo (Minami 1 Nishi 3) organized by the National Union of General Workers–Tokyo Nanbu (http://www.nugw.org). Four long-term workers in Berlitz (branch now owned by ELS) were summarily fired without sufficient reason, in a pretty clear attempt at union busting. This was joined by two other strikes at Berlitz in Shinjuku and Fukuoka at the same time.