Table of Contents:
CHILD ABDUCTION ISSUE STILL HAS LEGS
1) Letter from US Senators Boxer and Corker to Obama re Child Abductions, for his Nov 12 visit to Japan
2) Joint statement by eight governments re Japan’s untenable stance on international child abductions
3) Global Post’s Justin McCurry on Savoie Child Abduction Case. Issue isn’t passe yet.
4) Letter to Prime Minister Hatoyama regarding Child Abductions and legislative lag, from a Left-Behind Parent
5) MSNBC.com/AP on left-behind dads in Japan regardless of nationality
FALLOUT FROM ISSUES OF LABOR, HISTORY, IMMIGRATION, DOLPHIN AND OTHER SLAUGHTERS
6) Mainichi: Numerous foreign trainees forced to work under harsh conditions in Japan, even to death
7) Mainichi: Chinese trainees file complaint with labor bureau over 350 yen per hour overtime
8 ) Sakanaka Hidenori’s latest paper on assimilation of NJ now translated into English, full text
9) Economist.com BANYAN column on DPJ moves to right historical wrongs
10) Fallout from “The Cove”: TV’s “South Park” takes on Japan’s dolphin slaughters and whale hunts
11) Tangent: Microsoft apologizes for photoshopping out black man from its Poland advertising. Contrast with “Mr James”
12) Tangent: Japan Times reporter Eric Johnston on getting freelance reporting jobs in Japan
13) Tokyo International Players present “Honiefaith”, true story of NJ murder, Nov 6-7-8 in Shibuya’s OUR SPACE Theater
14) New Debito.org Poll: “What should be the DPJ’s NUMBER ONE priority policy for helping NJ in Japan?”
… and finally …
15) My next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Tues Nov 3 on Japan politicization of demographic science
Here’s The Economist’s Asia-focus “Banyan” column last week, on the DPJ’s attempt to try and redress the historical running sores that pass for diplomatic relations between Japan and the rest of Asia.
As I voted in the most recent Debito.org blog poll, the DPJ keeps surprising me with their progressive plans and policies. The proposal for a definitive joint-edited history book of the Asian region is precisely what UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene recommended as a salve years ago.
The Economist is right to express a certain degree of skepticism: so many hopes for countries to act like adults, and own up to the bad parts of history (viz. former PM Abe’s call for official whitewashing in the name of promoting Japan as “beautiful” — i.e. shame about the past just gets in the way of training Japanese to love their country), have been dashed time and time again. But as long as the DPJ can maintain the momentum of “not quite business as usual, folks”, I think we just might see decades of regional rhetorical logjam broken, and Japan discovering that international goodwill might be worth as much as good trade relations.
Economist.com: Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s new prime minister, has pleased the neighbours by promising that rule by his Democratic Party of Japan would transform Japan’s relations with them. He made the pledge in both Seoul, where he met South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, on October 8th, and then in Beijing at a three-way summit with China’s leaders. Unlike the weasel-worded Liberal Democratic Party, which long ran the country, Mr Hatoyama’s new government, he says, “has the courage to face up to history.”
Both Mr Lee and China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, were delighted. Dealing honestly with historical matters, they affirmed, would make it much easier to tackle contemporary challenges together—notably, getting North Korea to give up its nukes, and deepening economic co-operation. Mr Lee said Mr Hatoyama had opened the way for “future-oriented relations”. The talk now is of reviving old plans for an undersea tunnel linking South Korea and Japan. Emperor Akihito may visit South Korea, a first. Both South Korea and China have applauded Japan’s proposal for a jointly compiled history textbook…
IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS AND DEBITO.ORG READER REPORTS
1) Naturalized J citizen Jiei stopped by Osaka cops for Gaijin Card Check. Shitsukoidom ensues
2) JIPI book on “The Concept for a Japanese-Style Immigration Nation”, by Sakanaka Hidenori
3) Discrimination at Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, report by Roy Choudhury
4) On the cannibalistic NJ labor market in Japan: short essay
5) A spate of Debito.org-related news links, on PR, visas with kids, NJ unemp insurance, and Roppongi drink spiking
6) Greenmailing and Bloat within Japan’s Bio-Gas market, by James Eriksson
7) Japan Times, NHK, Terrie’s Take & Mainichi on Japan’s child abductions from broken marriages, and Hague Treaty developments
(complete with heavily-biased news segment from NHK)
8 ) Launching websites: youtube human rights, and Childrens’ Rights Network Japan
9) IHT/Asahi on Japan’s reticence to sign Hague Treaty on Child Abduction
10) UN NEWS: UN expert calls on Japan to boost action in combating human trafficking
11) Murder suspect Ichihashi’s reward upped to 10 million yen
12) Kyodo: Resident NJ numbers rise yet again in 2008, according to MOJ
BRIGHT SHINY THINGS
13) Review of documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES in Kansai Scene July 2009, September Road Show
14) Aso Cabinet Email Mag: Aso explains himself away to the outside world as he asks for renewed power
15) Some brief commonsensical thoughts on Tokyo Election July 12, 2009
16) Sunday Tangent: Stray thoughts on Rbt. McNamara’s timely passing
… and finally …
17) SAPPORO SOURCE July 2009, Column 2 on Sapporo’s Summer of Love. Every Summer. (full text)
UN NEWS: 17 July 2009 — Although Japan recognizes the seriousness of the problem of human trafficking within its borders, the East Asian nation must take more concrete action to fight the scourge, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today.
“Human trafficking affects every country of the world, and Japan is clearly affected as a destination country for many of those victims,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, wrapping up a six-day visit to the country.
The majority of trafficking is for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation in Japan, but she pointed out that trafficking for labour exploitation is also cause for great concern.
Table of Contents:
1) LDP’s Kouno Taro submits J dual nationality proposal to Diet
… and a majority of respondents to a Debito.org survey want it to go even further
2) Asahi NP Op-Ed urges J to make education compulsory for NJ children too
3) Japan Times update on granting children of mixed J/NJ parentage citizenship
4) FYI: People working for American companies in Japan are covered by US Civil Rights Law
BAD SCIENCE, BETTER SCIENCE
5) Japan Times: PM Aso “stimulus plan” bribe taking flak, still unclear if NJ get handout
6) Ibaraki Pref Police put up new and improved public posters portraying NJ as coastal invaders
7) One year after Japan reinstitutes fingerprinting for NJ, a quick retrospective
8) Kyodo: SDF’s Tomogami revisionist history shows cosiness between J military and right-wing nationalists
9) Japan Times on GOJ’s new efforts to boost tourism to 20 million per annum
10) GOJ Survey says “53% fear public safety problem from increased NJ tourists, want policy measures”
11) Negative survey of NJ employers by J headhunting company “Careercross” to make “employers see their own bias”
12) Compare: Good survey of “non-Japanese citizens in Sapporo” by Sapporo City
13) Thoughtful essay in the Yomiuri on the word “Gaijin” by Mike Guest
14) Speaking in Iwate next weekend: four speeches in E and J
… and finally…
15) Next Japan Times column December 2: Stray Thoughts on Obama’s Election
and how the Bush Admin has spoiled it for activists here in Japan
Kyodo: Sacked air force chief Toshio Tamogami testified in parliament Tuesday over his controversial war essay but his unapologetic rhetoric only highlighted a large difference in perception with the government regarding Japan’s role in World War II.
His testimony also posed a question even among Self-Defense Forces officers about whether the 60-year-old former general was ever fit for the post of Air Self-Defense Force chief of staff and prompted politicians to have second thoughts about the effectiveness of their efforts to maintain civilian control of the defense forces…
Revelations about Tamogami’s cozy links with a nationalist real estate businessman who organized the competition was also among topics taken up by the committee.
The essay contest was organized by hotel and condominium developer Apa Group and its head Toshio Motoya, a friend of Tamogami. Apa Group is also known for its support of hawkish former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
On top of that, an orchestrated submission of essays by ASDF personnel is also suspected.
Tamogami also denied in the parliamentary session that he received any inappropriate benefits from Motoya’s side and that he had played a role in the organized submission of essays.
But the ministry has found that in addition to Tamogami, 94 of the 235 essay submissions came from the ASDF.
Another senior official of the ministry questioned the fairness of the essay contest saying, ”It must have been fixed.”
Table of Contents:
1) Japan Focus runs E translation of Asahi Oct 5 2008 article on discrimination in Japan
2) Govt websites don’t include NJ residents in their tallies of “local population”
3) AP: Economic downturn already resulting in NJ layoffs in Japan, but NJ not counted in unemployment figures
4) SR on Shounan Shinkin Bank in Chigasaki, refuses bank accounts to NJ who can’t read and speak Japanese
5) MX on “Gaijin” harassment in Tokyo elementary school
Japan’s Entrenched Discrimination Toward Foreigners
The Asahi Shimbun October 5, 2008
Translation by Arudou Debito
From the Introduction by David McNeill: Will Japan ever overcome its distrust of foreigners? This question has been forcefully posed in various guises, most notably perhaps by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights Doudou Diene. In 2005 he concluded after a nine-day investigation in Japan that the authorities were not doing enough to tackle what he called Japan’s “deep and profound racism” and xenophobia, particularly against its former colonial subjects. The report appeared to vindicate the work of campaigners such as naturalized Japanese Arudou Debito, who argue that Japan needs, among other things, an anti-discrimination law.
Now, unusually perhaps for a major national newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun has waded into the debate with a major article on the issue. Titled, “Opening the nation: Time to make choices,” the article recounts tales of discrimination by long-term foreign residents before looking at how Japan compares to other nations, including perhaps its nearest equivalent, South Korea. A lively illustration helps makes the point that foreigners sometimes feel like second-class citizens. The Asahi concludes that the dearth of laws here protecting the livelihoods or rights of non-Japanese makes the country somewhat unique. “In other countries…there is almost no example of foreigners being shut out like this.” Interestingly, the Asahi did not translate the article for its foreign edition…
In 2007, South Korea passed “The Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”, a law regarding equitable treatment and human rights protections for foreigners and naturalized Koreans. This is on top of government apparatus established specifically to enforce those protections. While I’m sure the system is far from perfect (the UN’s comments below are eerily similar to what goes on in Japan), if South Korea can pass a law on this, so can Japan. Here is more information on it from the ROK and the UN.
1) “POLICE PATROL CONTACT CARD” ASKS FOREIGNERS FOR PERSONAL DETAILS
2) SHUUKAN DIAMONDO ON “IMMIGRATION ARCHIPELAGO JAPAN”
3) ANOTHER TAKE ON THE UN RAPPORTEUR DIENE TRIP
4) THE RIGHT WING START GEARING UP AGAINST DIENE REPORT
5) LETTER TO YOMIURI RE FINGERPRINTING LAW
6) OTARU ONSENS MEDIA TAPE
7) YAMATO DAMACY’S CONCLUDING INTERVIEW
8) and finally… THE COMPLIMENT OF THE YEAR
Subject: REPORT: UN’s Doudou Diene’s May 2006 Tokyo and Osaka trip
1) MEETING WITH UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR DIENE IN OSAKA AND TOKYO
2) LINKS TO RELATED ARTICLES
3) ATTENDING UN SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN PRESS CONFERENCE
1) FORMER AINU DIETMEMBER KAYANO SHIGERU DIES
2) UN’S DOUDOU DIENE TO REVISIT JAPAN MAY 15-19
3) “SLAVEDRIVE YOUR GAIJIN!” CEO ENGLISH SITE DISAPPEARS
4) HIS TRAVEL ADMITS TO HAVING DIFFERENT AIRFARES FOR FOREIGNERS
5) JAPAN TIMES ON TOTTORI HUMAN RIGHTS ORDINANCE
Read and guffaw: “In a new report to the United Nations, the government outlines the situation of ethnic minorities and foreign residents in Japan, claiming it has made “every conceivable” effort over the past several years to eliminate racial discrimination.
“The government has long held that Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law, makes any antidiscrimination legislation superfluous, a point reiterated in the report.
“Japan has taken every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination,” the report’s introduction says, later adding that apartheid is unknown in Japan.”
COMMENT: Entitled “the third, fourth, fifth and sixth combined periodic report” [Japanese pdf, English pdf]–indicating just how late they’re filing a report that is actually due every two years. What bunkum. More on the GOJ’s relationship with the UN here. And more here about how the GOJ seeks input from human rights groups but not really (when they allowed right-wingers to shout down a meeting last year).
Finally, just a point of logic: If the GOJ had taken “every conceivable measure” as it claims below, that would naturally include a law against racial discrimination, wouldn’t it? But no. And look what happens as a result…
1) INTERNATIONAL MARRIAGES INCREASE TO ONE IN FIFTEEN
2) UN’S DOUDOU DIENE COMING BACK TO JAPAN MAY 15 TO 19
3) PART TIME UNIV TEACHERS GET HISTORICALLY BIG SETTLEMENT
4) NEW JAPAN TIMES COLUMN ON TOTTORI DEFEATED HUMAN RIGHTS ORDINANCE
5) FORMER JAPANESE ARMY MAN RETURNS AFTER 63 YEARS
6) FUTURE UPDATES ON HIS TRAVEL AND JAL HOTEL MILEAGE
1) MAINICHI et al: POLICE RACIAL PROFILING RESULTS IN MISTAKEN ARREST OF JAPANESE THEY THINK IS A FOREIGNER
2) MOFA TO HOLD HEARING RE UN CERD COMMITTEE REPORT
3) NUGW “MARCH IN MARCH” SUNDAY MARCH 5 IN SHINJUKU
4) “REVERSE DISCRIMINATION” AT KYOTO FORMER IMPERIAL PALACE
5) BOOK “JAPANESE ONLY” 2006 REVISED VERSION HITS STORES
(iii) Conclusions and/or Recommendations
In the course of the discussion, the following recommendations were made to Japan:
– Consider ratifying/Ratify the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980 (Canada, Netherlands);
– Encourage the continued taking of measures relating to discrimination against women in particular to raise the age of marriage to 18 for women as for men (France);
– Continue to take measures to reduce the incidence of violence against women and children, inter alia, by ensuring that law enforcement officials receive human rights training, and to fund recovery and counselling centres for victims of violence (Canada);
– Continue the efforts to combat trafficking in persons with a special emphasis on women and children (Canada);
– Develop a mechanism to ensure the prompt return of children who have been wrongly removed from or prevented from returning to their habitual place of residence (Canada);
– Prohibit expressly all forms of corporal punishment of children and promote positive and non-violent forms of discipline (Italy);
Japan’s Supreme Court rules Japan’s marriage requirement for Japanese nationality unconsitutional
Chinese now outnumber Koreans as Japan’s largest NJ Minority
Narita Customs spike HK passenger’s bag with cannabis
Exclusive! Eric Johnston on extreme security at Kobe G8 Environmental Ministers Summit
UN OHCHR Minority Update: Japan reviewed by Human Rights Council
Highlights of UN OHCHR Universal Periodic Review of Japan’s Human Rights Record, May 14, 2008
Terrie’s Take 469: GOJ to sign Hague Convention on Child Abduction by 2010
Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japan’s offer to sign Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010
Japan Times Community Page May 28, 2008 on Permanent Residency: “Bad PR for Japan”
…and consequently… NYT on Japan’s dearth of NJ techies, scientists, and engineers
…and even Japan’s first Caucasian Geisha got her application for PR rejected!
Kyodo/Japan Today on Anthony Bianchi’s moves as Inuyama City Councilor
Daily Yomiuri May 30 2008 reviews HANDBOOK positively
Jornal Tudo Bem interview, May 9 2008 (Portuguese)
Bulgarian Kotooshuu wins first Sumo Tourney
Debito.org “Japanese Only” T-Shirt appears in Italian SkyTG24 report on G8 Pre-Summit
Tony Laszlo, “Administrator of NGO Issho Kikaku”, in Asahi “Money” Section for his wife’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series
Yahoo News/AP: Newest “Yokoso Japan” rep: Hello Kitty!
Wired Magazine on 2-Channel’s Nishimura Hiroyuki
GATHERINGS OF INTEREST:
3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival, June 20-27 2008, Sponsored by UNHCR
SMJ Forum On NJ Rights and Living Standards, Sat June 14, Kawasaki
Call for Presentations, Peace as a Global Language Conference 7 Sept 27-8, Tokyo
…and finally… a tangent:
Economist obit on Mildred Loving, defeater of US anti-miscegenation laws
GOOD NEWS FROM GRASS ROOTS
JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 4
By Arudou Debito, Japan Times June 3, 2008
Reader Rodney in Vancouver recently emailed: “I’ve often found your articles informative and useful, but they tend to take a tone of complaint. Please tell us about some face-to-face, grassroots efforts that have helped make Japanese more considerate and respectful of those who are different.”
Thanks. Yes, my essays sound like “complaints” because I focus on ongoing issues that need redress. That doesn’t mean I don’t see the good news too. Here are 700 words to prove that…
Terrie’s Take: “Two weeks ago, the Japanese government made a notable announcement that may make Japan more compatible with the legal conventions used internationally, and will be of particular benefit to non-Japanese spouses of Japanese. The announcement was that by 2010, Japan would sign the the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international legal construct that attempts to deal with the thorny issue of court jurisdiction when children of international marriages are moved cross-border, often by a parent trying to thwart a court ruling in the previous jurisdiction. Currently, Japan is known as a haven for disaffected Japanese spouses who, in getting divorced, abscond with their kids back to Japan. Once in Japan they can dare their foreign spouses to try getting the kids back — something that despite around 13,000 international divorces a year in Japan and more overseas, has NEVER happened…”
Here’s what investigating countries at the United Nations are saying about Japan’s human rights record. First, some highlights of what the GOJ itself says it’s doing about following treaties and human rights standards, then other countries respond with a surprising degree of awareness. The biggest issues seem to be the death penalty, human trafficking, and rights for women (with historical issues brought up by neighboring Asian countries), but as far as Debito.org is concerned, there is plenty of attention devoted to issues we’ve been raising all along. Even if Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene’s reports on racism in Japan are mostly being ignored by our government, they certainly are being read by members of the UN. Do try to read parts of the UPR Report with a straight face, as that’s what our government is making a number of risible claims with. I offer links to sections on Debito.org that are at odds with the GOJ’s claims.
Here are two updates on Japan’s human rights behavior being considered for periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council. This is a new activity by the UN after the old Human Rights Commission was disbanded, accused for many years of having the world’s worst human-rights offenders as leaders, there covering up their own abuses. Now under this new organ with the same acronym, everyone is being subject to review once every four years. And according to the press releases below, Japan’s turn came last week. Forwarding primary-source documents to you. Pertinent sections underlined. As it says below, you can also submit documents to the OHCHR if you want about human-rights abuses in Japan. Five pages max, deadline July 14, 2008, email included in this blog entry.
UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene, who has visited Japan three times in the past, called racism here “deep and profound”, and urged Japan to pass laws against racial discrimination, is now visiting the US for the same reason. Good. Let’s see how the USG deals with his report (and let’s see how high up Diene gets meetings. Even Tokyo Gov. Ishihara found no time to meet Diene on any of this trips…). The GOJ essentially ignored his reports, alas.
Hi Blog. Here are a gaggle of recent UN News articles on the Human Rights Council, the one which monitors countries (like Japan) on their human rights practices. Here’s hoping they’ll be coming down on Japan soon for it’s broken promises regarding establishing a law against racial discrimination. Arudou Debito in Sapporo ================================== UN HUMAN …
UN News: Opening the seventh session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 5, 2008, called on its members to ensure that all nations are held equally accountable for the protection of rights as the new body begins its first-ever universal review of their performance.
“No country, however powerful, should escape scrutiny of its record, commitments and actions on human rights,” Mr. Ban said, hailing the start of the Universal Periodic Review, under which all UN Member States – at the rate of 48 a year – will be reviewed to assess whether they have fulfilled their human rights obligations.
Hi Blog. Here is a situation covered only infrequently by the media and by the likes of Debito.org (mainly because there is so little public information out there, and it’s a topic I’m not at liberty to research myself)–how sex trafficking, particularly that involving non-Japanese, is a flourishing business. And how Japan is one of …
Holiday special on twelve things which changed my life in 2007, now becoming an annual tradition.
1) MY NEXT COLUMN IN THE JAPAN TIMES DEC 18 2007
ON HOW XENOPHOBIA AND SHORT-SIGHTED POLICYMAKING IS DESTROYING JAPAN
2) SASEBO GYM SHOOTING: SOME MEDIA SPECULATES THAT A NJ DID IT.
WRONGLY. YET NO RETRACTION.
3) TV TARENTO PETER BARAKAN ATTACKED, PREMEDITATED TEARGASSING–
WITH RESPONSE FROM PETER HIMSELF
4) THE AUSTRALIAN/JAPAN TODAY ON KANAGAWA POLICE RAPE CASE LAWSUIT LOSS
5) MEDIOCRE ECONOMIST SURVEY ON JAPAN BUSINESS DEC 1 2007
6) MAINICHI WAIWAI: HOMI DANCHI AND JAPANESE-BRAZILIAN FRICTIONS IN AICHI
7) ALBERTO FUJIMORI REALLY GETS HIS–6 YEARS’ PRISON; AND THAT’S NOT ALL
8) UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS 60TH ANNIVERSARY DEC 10, 2007
9) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DEC 8, 2007
with links to more than two months’ of previous podcasts…
The freedoms upheld in the historic United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be enjoyed by everyone, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Dec 10, 2007 on the occasion of Human Rights Day… The UN’s independent rights experts marked the Day with a call for the elimination of the twin scourges of discrimination and exclusion. “Discrimination continues to distort the economic, social and political contours of societies,” the UN special procedures mandate holders – ranging from rapporteurs and experts to working groups – said in a joint statement. “Individuals and communities face discrimination and exclusion on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, language, sex or sexual orientation amongst many other grounds.” The group emphasized that if left unchecked, the consequences of discrimination and exclusion “can begin to create fault lines within society between those who have full rights, justice and dignity respected, and those who do not.”
1) JAPAN TIMES: WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARD CHECKS, WALLET-SIZED LAWS
2) FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:
OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS FROM NARITA AIRPORT
KOBE REGATTA & ATHLETIC WANTS IN ON FP PROTEST
ACCJ OFFERS THEIR VIEW OF LOBBYING FOR “CONCESSIONS”
MORE PROTESTS: T-SHIRTS AT JALT, “WANTED” POSTERS
FORMER GIANTS PITCHER YAMAMOTO PROFITEERS, GETS FP FOR MONEY
OFFER YOUR FP EXPERIENCES AT IMMIG AFTER NOV 20 AT DEBITO.ORG
3) ECONOMIST: YOMIURI OWNER WATANABE INTERFERES WITH POLITICS, AS USUAL
4) OSAKA REALTOR HAS CATALOG WITH “GAIJIN OK” [sic!] APARTMENTS; WHAT TO DO
5) CRIES DU COEUR FROM INTL RESIDENTS RE POLICE GAIJIN CARD SHAKEDOWNS
6) UN REP DOUDOU DIENE WARNS RACISM INCREASINGLY VIOLENT WORLDWIDE
7) SPEECHES ON JOB SEARCHES, NOVA COLLAPSE AT JALT TOKYO THIS WEEKEND
8) VALENTINE CASE NEXT COURT HEARING TUES NOV 20 11AM
(SAME PLACE AS AMNESTY MOJ FP PROTEST AT NOON–SO DO BOTH!)
9) “NO BORDERS” MEETING NOV 18: KOKUSAIKA AND KEIDANREN LAID BARE
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.
From the archives, this somehow escaped being blogged. Including for the record:
1) DIETMEMBER KOUNO TARO PRESS CONFERENCE JULY 31, 2006
2) FOREIGN MINISTRY FORUM ON UN CERD AND DIENE REPORT JULY 28, 2006
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.
1) UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE CASTIGATES J JUDICIAL SYSTEM
2) LAT: FIRST RECORDED POLICE CONFESSION OKAYED AS COURT EVIDENCE
3) DIETMEMBER CRITICAL OF J’S UPCOMING JURY SYSTEM
4) UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII’S ASIAN PACIFIC LAW JOURNAL ON CHILD ABDUCTION IN JAPAN
5) I GET SMACKED BY A CAR WHILE ON MY BIKE IN JUNE…
AND HAVE A GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH TRAFFIC COPS!
The Financial Times (London) reports that more bodies within the UN are joining the fray and pointing out Japan as not only a slacker in the human rights arenas, but also as sorely lacking in terms of checks and balances regarding the criminal procedure and the judiciary.
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
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”…
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…
1) “JAPANESE ONLY” SIGNS: “PURE-BLOODED JAPANESE ONLY–NO WAR ORPHANS etc.”
2) GAIJIN HANZAI MAG UPDATE: WERE THE POLICE BEHIND IT?
I SPECULATE YES, IN BOTH JAPAN TIMES (TOMORROW) AND ON JAPAN FOCUS
3) 2-CHANNEL UPDATE: NOW 43 CASES OF LIBEL LEFT UNREQUITED
4) CONFUSED BY COMFORT WOMEN DEBATE? THE DEFINITIVE ARTICLE ON JAPAN FOCUS
5) TRANS-PACIFIC RADIO INTERVIEW RE KOKUSAIKA, POLITICS etc.
6) NEW BATCH OF “JAPANESE ONLY” T-SHIRTS NOW ON SALE
As the debate intensifies over allowing more foreign workers into Japan to make up for the coming labor shortage, human rights groups have recently stepped up efforts to push for a law against discrimination. Yet despite calls from not only human rights nongovernmental organizations but also the United Nations for such a law, the central government says separate legislation is not needed because the Constitution provides sufficient protection against discrimination. “You can’t talk about a truly effective policy for bringing in more foreign laborers without including the need for an antidiscrimination law that offers them legal protection once they settle in Japan,” said Masao Niwa, an Osaka-based human rights attorney and a leading advocate for such a law.
Hi Blog. Here’s a pretty much perfect article on the “Comfort Women” Issue at Japan Focus, which ties everything we need for this debate together: The USG and GOJ’s reaction to the issue, the UN’s reports, the background of the primary agents in the process of denial, and all contextualized within a comparison of Nazi …
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 13, 2007: SPECIAL EDITION: THE “COMFORT WOMEN” ISSUE, PM ABE, AND THE MEDIA: SUPPORTING THE HOME TEAM AT ALL COSTS
Two nice Washington Times articles on issues we’re covering on this blog: UN Rep Doudou Diene’s recent Japan visit, and the forces working against Japan’s inevitable internationalization (including Ed Minister Ibuki’s comments, PM Abe’s support of Japan’s alleged homogeneity, and “Japanese Only” signs nationwide). Bravo.
Now the Western media has their peg to unzip the Abe Adminstration’s overt right-wing historical revisionist bent. Newsweek did a puff piece on Abe’s wife (comparing her to Jackie O) not too long ago, sigh. Now Abe undoes her image control with these revelations. NYT and Time Magazine aritcles follow. Remember that Abe tried this on NHK in 2001 before he was PM, forcing NHK to re-edit a historical piece involving the Comfort Women some years ago. J Times Sources included, as well as an update showing Abe backpedalling and containing links to statements before the US Congress on this issue. Go Mike Honda, go! More updates include March 7 Kyodo article as the GOJ continues to make a hash of the issue, and NYT interviews victims March 8. Then Abe blames the media for misconstruing him and clams up. NYT editorial and Kouno Statement of 1993 included. As well as lots more media debate and academic analysis.
LINKS TO RECENT SPEECHES AND HANDOUTS
along with FCCJ SPEECH WITH UN RAPPORTEUR DOUDOU DIENE TRANSCRIPT
2) BUTTER AND METABOLIC SYNDROME: IBUKI AND PM ABE DISS HUMAN RIGHTS
along with DIENE’S COUNTERCOMMENT: SCOOP FOR JAPAN TIMES
3) WHAT OTHER SOCIETIES DO ABOUT DISCRIMINATION: JAPAN, TAKE NOTE
4) JAPAN TIMES ON MYTH OF JAPAN’S CRIME WAVE. HOW THE POLICE AND MEDIA ABET
5) ASAHI: TOKYO JH SCHOOL REFUSES CHILD ADMISSION FOR BEING FOREIGN
6) ASAHI: NEED TO BROADEN DEFINITION OF “JAPANESE”
Exclusive to the Japan Times: Quotes from UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene re Ibuki Bunmei’s dismissive remarks about human rights.
Transcript of Luncheon with UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene and Arudou Debito, Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Feb 16, 2007. Now reformatted with links, addendum, and photo.
Tokyo Speech Details: Luncheon at FCCJ with UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene, “Racial Discrimination in Japan: Is Anything Changing?” Speech for Amnesty International Group 78 “2 Channel and Freedom of Speech”. Finally, Speech for Roppongi Bar Association: “Foreign Residents and the Japanese Legal System”.
Hi Blog. Side by side with the United Nations. It’s like a dream. Wish me luck. Hope I do well. Debito ============================ THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS CLUB OF JAPAN (FCCJ) PRESENTS: Professional Luncheon Debito Arudou & Doudou Diene Racism In Japan – Is Anything Changing? 12:00-14:00 Monday, February 26, 2007 (The speech and Q & A …