外国人政策研究所 事務局 坂中英徳 著:「日本型移民政策の提言」

Hi Blog. This is Japan Immigration Policy Institute’s Mr Sakanaka Hidenori’s proposal for a new immigration policy for Japan. Dated June 12, 2008, in Japanese:

日本型移民政策の提言
世界の若者が
移住したいと憧れる国の構築に向けて
=中間とりまとめ=
Ⅰ 政策の理念
1.移民立国で日本の活性化を図る
2.日本文明の底力を活かす

Ⅱ 日本型移民政策の骨格
1.日本人口の10%を移民が占める「移民国家」へ
2.「育成型」移民政策を推進する
3.日本型移民政策の基盤整備
4.社会統合・多民族共生のための施策
5.人道的配慮を要する移民の受け入れ

Ⅲ 直ちに取り組むべき事項

2008.6.12

LA Times: US giving liver transplants to Yakuza with FBI assistance

LA Times: “UCLA Medical Center and its most accomplished liver surgeon provided a life-saving transplant to one of Japan’s most powerful gang bosses, law enforcement sources told The Times. In addition, the surgeon performed liver transplants at UCLA on three other men who are now barred from entering the United States because of their criminal records or suspected affiliation with Japanese organized crime groups…

The most prominent transplant recipient, Tadamasa Goto, had been barred from entering the U.S. because of his criminal history, several current and former law enforcement officials said. Goto leads a gang called the Goto-gumi, which experts describe as vindictive and at times brutal. The FBI helped Goto obtain a visa to enter the United States in 2001 in exchange for leads on potentially illegal activity in this country by Japanese criminal gangs, said Jim Stern, retired chief of the FBI’s Asian criminal enterprise unit in Washington…”

The FBI did not help Goto arrange his surgery with UCLA but did help him gain entry to this country, Stern said. The agency had long been frustrated by the reluctance of Japanese law enforcement to share information on yakuza members in the United States.

…”For American law enforcement, it’s been like pulling teeth to get criminal intelligence from Japanese authorities,” said David Kaplan, a journalist who co-wrote the book “Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld,” published in 2003 by the University of California Press…

NYT on free land in Hokkaido (yes, you read that right)–but in one place only for citizens and NJ with Permanent Residency

“Land is cheap in Hokkaido,” said Akira Kanazawa, the mayor of Shibetsu, adding that many communities on the island were trying to attract new residents by offering rebates on land. “But free? That’s highly unusual.”

Because of a hollowing out of Shibetsu’s main industries, dairy farming and fishing, the town’s population has fallen by more than 10 percent in the last decade, to 5,889 today. So in late 2006, the town announced that it would give away 28 parcels of land ranging from 4,300 square feet to 5,230 square feet each, very generous by Japanese standards. A third of the lots were reserved for locals, with the rest going to outsiders.

The only stipulation was that the newcomers build a house on the lot within three years and move there officially.

Town officials had expected a big response. “But it wasn’t as simple as that,” the mayor said. “After all, it’s a huge commitment to migrate here.”

July 13 Tokyo Organizational meeting for Oyako Net, a nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents in Japan

The Oyako Net–A nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents after divorce/separation in Japan, first organizational meeting in Tokyo
Date: July 13th Time: 13:00~16:30 (Doors Open 12:30)
Place: Bunkyokuritsu Academy Miyogadani Kaigishitsu A
Station: Miyogadani (Marunouchi-sen)
Cost: 1,000 yen
Individuals to speak:
1. Paul Wong
2. Yuki Misuzu
3. Mitsuru-san
4. Tanase sensei (Lawyer)…

GOJ Panel: Japan should welcome skilled foreign workers, also create Immigration Agency, and increase the NJ population to 10 million!

TOKYO, June 10 (Reuters) – Japan should open its doors to more skilled workers from abroad in order to boost economic growth, the government’s top advisory panel said on Tuesday.

The council called on the government to come up with programmes by the end of this fiscal year to create a business and living environment that would attract highly skilled workers from around the globe.

“It is impossible to achieve economic growth in the future if we do not press forward with the ‘open country’ policy,” the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy said in its annual growth plan, which was released on Tuesday.

読売:移民、1000万人受け入れ提言…自民議連案

読売:自民党の「外国人材交流推進議員連盟」(会長=中川秀直・元幹事長)がまとめた日本の移民政策に関する提言案が7日、明らかになった。
 人口減少社会において国力を伸ばすには、移民を大幅に受け入れる必要があるとし、「日本の総人口の10%(約1000万人)を移民が占める『多民族共生国家』を今後50年間で目指す」と明記した。

6月20日(金)G8サミットと札幌の国際化について講演、かでる2.7ビルにて

洞爺湖サミットが迫り、北海道と共に札幌にはどんな影響があるのか、をディスカッションするきっかけとなります。特に「反テロ警戒警備」のもと、在住外国人はどう感じるのか、どう待遇されるのか、は浮き彫りになると思います。

よって、来週金曜日(20日)の夕方、私と友人ゲッツさんはこの件について講演します。日本語です。ご興味のある方はどうぞご出席下さい。案内ポスターはこのブログエントリーにあります。

Tangent: China bans terrorists during Olympics (Shanghai Daily)

Every now and again we do need a reality check. I’ve been heavily critical of Japan’s paranoid rules about G8 Summitry and security. Well, let’s cross the pond and see how silly China comes of regarding security during their Olympics. From the Shanghai Daily: “Overseas visitors suspected of working in the sex trade, of smuggling drugs or belonging to a terrorist organization will not be allowed to enter China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics… Foreigners with mental or epidemic diseases, including tuberculosis and leprosy, will also not be issued visas to visit China, the Organizing Committee said in a circular published on its official Website. Entry would be banned to anyone with “subversive” intent upon arriving in China, according to the rule…” But wait, there’s more…

Amnesty Int’l Public Seminar Shinjuku Sat June 21 on Beijing Olympics & crackdown on Journalists and Writers in China

**********************************************************
Public Seminar on June 21
Countdown to the Beijing Olympics
BROKEN PROMISES
– Increased crackdown of Journalists and Writers in China-
**********************************************************

Date: Saturday 21 June 2008
Time: 14:30〜17:00
Guest: Dr. Zhang Yu (Secretary-general of Writers in Prison Committee Independent Chinese PEN Center)
At: Harmonic Hall (Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku
In English…

Akihabara stabbing incident June 8, 2008–yet Akihabara knife shop with “Japanese Only” sign up

Japan Times article June 8, 2008, has a recount of the recent spate of stabbings in Japan, particularly the shocking incident the same day in Akihabara. But an irony I see in this horrible event is that a store in Akihabara–a knife and weapon shop, no less–has limited its customers to “Japanese Only”. Store called “MAD”. Photos in this blog entry.

Are “the authorities” being cited in “MAD”‘s sign still going to make the case that non-Japanese customers are less safe than Japanese? The shopkeeps of “MAD” might. Let’s use this occasion to reflect a bit on how insanity and nationality are not linked. And my condolences to the families of the victims…

Hokkaido Police G8 anti-terrorism measures: deputizing coke machines with scare posters, police checkpoints in Chitose Airport…

With less than a month to go before the G8 Summit comes to Hokkaido, here’s some information on how the public is being steeled for the event. I expect things are only going to get worse (like they did for the Sapporo leg of the 2002 World Cup), when walking while White in public is going to be cause for suspicion, with street corner ID checks by overtrained paranoid cops indulging in racial profiling. It’s already happening, according to Olaf Karthaus, in Chitose Airport…

Eric Johnston and I have already talked about the oversecuritization for both the Debito.org blog and for the Japan Times.

Here’s the first evidence of that: Deputized coke machines…

Fun Facts #10: Excellent Japan Times FYI column on the sex industry in Japan

Excellent FYI Column in the Japan Times on the Sex Industry in Japan:

“What law bans prostitution in Japan? The Prostitution Prevention Law, enacted in 1957, forbids the act of having “intercourse with an unspecified person in exchange for payment.”

It also punishes acts including soliciting by prostitutes and organized prostitution, such as operating brothels. Legal experts say it is hard for police to crack down on prostitution because it is tricky to verify if a couple had consensual or compensated sex. The law meanwhile does not ban paid sex with a “specified person,” or someone who has become an acquaintance. It also defines sex exclusively as vaginal intercourse. Thus other paid sexual acts are not illegal…”

Lots more interesting data within. I’m not going to comment more specifically on why I’m reposting it on Debito.org (because anything I say will just be misconstrued). It’s just a great article on a pervasive topic in Japan…

Japan Times FYI on voting rights in Japan (including Zainichi & Newcomer NJ)

Yet another excellent FYI Column from the Japan Times. Along with information on issues of absentee balloting in Japan (and how the GOJ once denied this fundamental constitutional right to Japanese living overseas, until the Supreme Court finally ruled this action unconstitutional in 2005), something of concern to Debito.org:

“Foreign nationals currently do not have the right to vote in Japan and the issue of giving foreign permanent residents that right for local-level elections is controversial.

Permanent residents, mainly Korean descendants of those who lived in Japan before the war and were forced to take Japanese nationality at that time, have been fighting for local-level suffrage.

Newcomers with permanent resident status from other countries and regions, including China, Brazil and the Philippines, are also part of this movement.

Recently, DPJ members started work on a bill to grant them suffrage. New Komeito has also been active in this area.

However, conservative lawmakers oppose granting foreigners suffrage, arguing such residents must become naturalized Japanese first. This is because the Constitution stipulates that sovereignty rests with the people, and people are defined as those who hold Japanese nationality, they say.”

AFP: Once “homogeneous” Japan will finally recognize Ainu as distinct ethnic minority

I’m still blinking at this one. After all these generations maintaining the fiction of Japan as monocultural/monoethnic, we have finally broken yet another ideological logjam: The GOJ will finally recognize the Ainu as a real ethnic minority, entitled to cultural and financial assistance for helping to maintain its culture. Bravo!

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 6, 2008

BIG SURPRISES:
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

OTHER SURPRISES:
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!

GOOD NEWS:
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

LUDICROUSIES
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

GOJ: Chinese are largest NJ group in Japan as of end-2007

Here’s a reversal of the Postwar NJ natural order of things: Japan Times/Kyodo: “Chinese became the largest group of foreign residents in Japan at the end of 2007, outnumbering Koreans, the Immigration Bureau said Tuesday. Of the 2.15 million registered foreigners in Japan, Chinese numbered 606,889, or 28.2 percent, while Koreans totaled 593,489, or 27.6 percent, the bureau said. They were followed by Brazilians, Filipinos and Peruvians…”

Japan’s Supreme Court rules Japan’s marriage requirement for Japanese nationality unconstitutional

Best news we’ll hear all year, I bet. Japan’s Supreme Court has just declared the insane system of “invalid nationality if postnatal paternity” (my term) unconstitutional, i.e. refusing to award Japanese citizenship to children born out of wedlock to NJ women if the J father acknowledges paternity AFTER the child is born. They awarded ten Japanese-Philippine children Japanese citizenship. Another very big step in favor of Japan’s internationalization and multiculturalization. Bravo!!

3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival, June 20-27 2008, Sponsored by UNHCR

In celebration of World Refugee Day on the 20th June 2008, UNHCR and Japan for UNHCR proudly present the 3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival. This is a new collection of feature and documentary films on forced migration. June 20-27, 2008, Tokyo. For more information on the timetable and film program visit http://www.refugeefilm.org

SMJ Forum On NJ Rights and Living Standards, Sat June 14, Kawasaki

Solidarity With Migrant Workers Network Japan (SMJ) will hold its biannual national forum on Saturday June 14 (from noon) and Sunday June 15 (from 1pm) at the Kawasaki Kyoiku Bunka Kaikan, near Kawasaki Station. The host, Solidarity With Migrants Japan, has long tackled serious issues facing foreigners living in Japan, including discrimination, violence, visa issues, labor problems and the like. The forum will bring together dozens of groups that handle NJ issues from around the country and even some from other countries.

Eric Johnston on extreme security at Kobe G8 Environmental Ministers Summit

Eric Johnston on the recent mess that passed for G8 Environmental Ministers Kobe Summit: “Readers of this website are no doubt familiar with Debito’s warning about Sapporo and parts of Hokkaido becoming a virtual police state during the main Leaders’ Summit, which takes place at Lake Toya in early July. Here, I owe Debito something of an apology, as I originally thought he may have been a bit hyperbolic, as I often am, for dramatic effect in order to emphasize a larger truth. Surely things weren’t that bad? Unfortunately, after my experience at the G8 Environment Ministers’ conference, I’m wondering if he might not have been prophetic… Many readers of Debito.org will be in or around not only Hokkaido during the main G8 Leaders Summit in July, but also Tokyo, Kansai, and other areas of Japan where the lesser ministerial summits are taking place. The security of the Environment Ministers conference may foreshadow the kinds of security measures that will be seen around Japan over the next month, as we approach the Toyako Summit. More ominously, these may be the kind of security measures we may yet see for more “international conferences” following the Hokkaido summit, as the government and their police and media allies bray on and on about possible “terrorist attacks.” The second reason is to illustrate, in a small way, just what your tax money is buying -a stronger police state and a bureaucracy that is balkanized and increasingly unable, in my experience at least, to get the simple things done at these huge international conferences to the extent that they once could…”

Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japan’s offer to sign Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010

Colin Jones in the Japan Times: “I feel like a bit of a wet blanket writing this. Make no mistake, it will be great if Japan actually does join the Hague Convention on Child Abductions. Whatever help Japanese authorities need in understanding and implementing the convention should be offered unstintingly. Anything which improves the situation of children abducted to Japan is to be applauded. And if joining the convention somehow leads to improvements for the many more Japanese children in strictly domestic cases who lose one parent through judicial action (or inaction), it would be almost revolutionary… It seems unlikely that Japan joining the convention alone would change this basic aspect of the country’s legal system, since it would involve the police (and prosecutors) in a vast new area of law enforcement family disputes when only a tiny fraction of such disputes would involve the Hague Convention. Perhaps some enforcement mechanism limited to convention cases will be developed, though it would be an odd (though not impossible) result if parents and children from abroad got a better deal in the Japanese legal system than those actually living in Japan. Furthermore, bureaucratic imperatives being at least as important as actual law in Japan, it is difficult to imagine how the police and prosecutors could ever find it in their interests to be arresting Japanese parents (more often than not mothers) in order to return Japanese children to foreigners.”

Japan Times 4th JUST BE CAUSE column on “Good Grass Roots” June 3 2008

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…

Protest NJ Fingerprinting: Pay your taxes in one yen coins

From a friend’s site:” November 20th 2008 was a black day for human rights in Japan. All non-Japanese passport holders, with a few exceptions, were required to be fingerprinted and photographed at their point of entry into the country. Japan also included long term permanent residents in its fingerprinting and photgraphing dragnet. On May 23rd 2008, I submitted a polite, reasoned and clearly enunciated formal letter of protest to the mayor of the city in which I reside, and told him that I was “temporarily suspending payment of the residential Poll Tax (as I call it), until I am no longer subjected to the discrimination and racism of official Japan.” Having just received a third “Final Notice” for the residential “Poll Tax” yesterday, I have decided to go ahead and pay it anyway, in One Yen coins. I will wait for them to count it all, and then I’m going to ask (tongue in cheek) for a set of fingerprints and a photograph of the Section Chief, as a receipt. I’ll settle for the usual red stamp with the date on it. My hope is that EVERY member of the international resident community all across Japan could do this kind of thing every time tax is due…” Cheeky. I like it.

Daily Yomiuri May 30 2008 reviews HANDBOOK positively

Daily Yomiuri reviews HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS: “Because the Handbook covers so many issues, it generally gives a bird’s-eye view of each one. Details of your situation may vary, but this little volume should get you off to a good start by recommending what forms to fill out, what government offices to visit and what authorities to consult for specific guidance. Asked to characterize the reader feedback he has received so far, Arudou summed it up as: ‘Where has this book been all my life? It’s about bloody time.'”

Nikkei Portuguese newspaper Jornal Tudo Bem: Partial Pensions denied NJ who don’t pay in full 24 years

Nikkei Portuguese newspaper Jornal Tudo Bem put on its front page this week, according to a friend who reads Portuguese, an article stating that NJ get no partial pensions unless they pay in the full 25 years (Japanese, however, get partial pensions commensurate to a partial payment). Administrative Solicitor Akira Higuchi says that’s not the case. Very confusing–let’s hope there’s some clarification forthcoming.

Japan Times Community Page May 28, 2008 on Permanent Residency: “Bad PR for Japan”

Getting to know Japan is hard work: a complicated language, cultural esoterica, mixed messages about prudent paths to take. People who find their way around and assimilate deserve kudos and respect. And reward. The Japanese government should welcome them by granting Permanent Residency (“eijuken”). But recently people eminently qualified under PR guidelines are being rejected — even Japan’s first Caucasian geisha! Makes one wonder if Japan’s mandarins now feel PRs have reached a “carrying capacity” and have started throwing up more hurdles. Let’s triangulate from three examples this past month…

Reuters: UN’s Doudou Diene checking out racism in USA

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.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 17, 2008

IRONIES AND HOW TO SWING THEM:
1) No bank accounts allowed at Mitsui Sumitomo for NJ without minimum six-month stays.
Okay at Japan Post Office, however.
2) Japan proposes language requirement for foreign long-term visas,
yet protests when Britain proposes the same.

GOOD NEWS:
3) Mainichi: MOJ overturns deportation order, allows NJ couple to stay with child in Japan.
4) Yomiuri: 80% of hospitals interested in employing foreign nurses.
5) Japan Times: Canada, U.S. nudge Japan to join child abduction resolution framework
(and it appears to have worked).

WORD GETS OUT:
6) US State Dept Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2007, Japan
7) UN News recent articles on Human Rights Council
8) UN News: first group of 16 nations reviewed by HRC

9) Debito.org Podcast April 5, 2008: My March 18 FCCJ Speech in full on Trans Pacific Radio
10) Japan Times Feb 16 Symposium, my question from the floor makes the paper
11) “WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS” stickers for businesses
now on sale at Debito.org (Paypal OK)
12) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column 3: “Activism vs Academia”

And finally…
13) Humor: Sankei Sports Pure-Ai Keitai dating service advertisement

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 11, 2008–SPECIAL ON CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN JAPAN

JUDICIAL TREATMENT OF NJ VICTIMS OF CRIME
1) Filipina allegedly killed by J man, let out of jail despite suspicion of killing another Filipina in past
2) Japan Times et al on homicide of Scott Tucker: “likely to draw leniency”
3) Tokyo Police apparently drop case of Peter Barakan’s assault
4) Yomiuri and Japan Times on Matthew Lacey Case:
Fukuoka Police dismiss NJ death by blow to the head as “dehydration”

JUDICIAL TREATMENT OF NJ ACCUSED OF CRIME
5) “Hostage Justice”: Swiss woman acquitted of a crime,
but detained for eight months anyway during prosecution’s appeal
6) Two articles from The Economist on bent Japanese criminal justice system, death penalty
7) Rough Guide on what to do if and when arrested in Japan
8) Yuyu Idubor’s Statement to High Court April 23, 2008, letters from prison parts five and six

SYSTEMATIC POLICE TREATMENT OF NJ EVEN WITHOUT CRIME
9) Japan Today: Male Shinjuku cops rough up Singaporean women during “passport check”
(with link to Japan Probe site with information about possible police identity fraud)
10) Hiragana Times July 2006 on NJ police brutality by Toyonaka, Osaka cops
11) Potential Olympic torch problems in Nagano? All the more reason to target NJ!
12) Asahi, Mainichi, and Yomiuri: Replacement “Gaijin Card” system, increasing police powers
13) Japan Times: Critics deride future extra policing of NJ under new proposed registration policy

WHY THIS IS UNJUST: JAPAN’S EXTREME POLICE POWERS
14) Reuters: Study says immigrants and crime rate not linked
15) Japan Times ZEIT GIST: G8 Summit and the bad “security” habits brought out in Japan

Japan Times Feb 16 Symposium, my question from the floor makes the paper

I have offered my opinion on how the Japan Times could improve its readership in the past on this blog (the JT is uniquely poised to offer something more independently, as a newspaper not controlled as a vanity project by the other Japanese newspapers, such as the doctrinaire Yomiuri, or a union-busting, closed-circuit Asahi. I’m hoping that it finally sinks in that the JT can most easily turn on a dime, and offer information not only for English-language readers, but also the immigrants who want to make a life in Japan and need essential information even when there’s no emergency like the (cited) Great Hanshin Earthquake.

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column 3: “Activism vs Academia”

JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times column 3: “So naturally, some academics have been rather skeptical when I claim racial discrimination here is growing in magnitude and scope. One even asserted at this forum that my online “naming and shaming” of discriminators ( www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html ) is counterproductive — that too much “attacking Japan” alienates potential allies. Again, I understand why never the twain. The academic observer, particularly in the social sciences, is bound by a “prime directive” — not to interfere with their object of study when collecting data; plus there is an incumbent resistance to making value judgments (think of “cultural imperialism” etc.; to an anthropologist, I’m probably the Antichrist). In sum, academics observe societal or global “standards.” Activists, however, try to create or adjust them.”

Donald Richie gives great review of HANDBOOK in Japan Times

Donald Richie on HANDBOOK: “In this important and necessary book the authors address migrants and immigrants to Japan in saying that “we believe that your life in Japan should be under as much of your control as legally possible.” That it sometimes seems not to be, is the reason for their having written this handbook… The wise newcomer, be he or she nascent migrant or not, is hereby counseled to acquire this valuable volume and render life in Japan not only possible but practical and pleasurable as well.”

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APR 17, 2008: NEW TOUR SCHEDULES

1) ADVANCE NOTICE OF POTENTIAL TOURS: WANT ME TO COME SPEAK?
CALIFORNIA AUG 17-28, JAPAN SEPT 1-16, 2008

2) REVIEW OF HANDBOOK BY DONALD RICHIE, IN JAPAN TIMES APR 20
3) MY LATEST JAPAN TIMES COMMUNITY PAGE ARTICLE, ON WASTEFUL G8 SUMMIT, APR 22

4) HIBA SPEECH IN SAPPORO NEXT TUES APRIL 22
5) MIYAZAKI SPEECH NEXT THURS APRIL 24

…and finally…
6) HANDBOOK ADVERTISED IN ASAHI APR 13, SALES LEAP ON AMAZON JAPAN

US State Dept Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2007, Japan

Although the US is certainly no paragon of human rights worldwide (what with torture, renditions, abuses under SOFA, denial of Habeas Corpus to non-citizens, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the largest arms sales worldwide, to name but a few caveats under this administration), here is their annual report on human rights in Japan in full. For what it’s worth. Note how the situation of “Japanese Only” signs nationwide is no longer mentioned, like it was in previous reports. I guess the US State Department considers the situation resolved. I beg to differ.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 9, 2008

1) BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK TOUR–A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE
2) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST WITH ENTIRE FCCJ SPEECH ON HANDBOOK
3) EXCERPT OF THE BOOK ON JAPAN FOCUS
4) TERRIE LLOYD REVIEWS HANDBOOK POSITIVELY FOR DAIJOB.COM
5) CHUUNICHI SHINBUN ON ONE OF MY NAGANO SPEECHES

…and finally…
6) JAPAN TIMES JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 2
…ON LOCAL KOKUSAIKA FORUMS AS WASTED OPPORTUNITIES

Japan Times: Critics deride future extra policing of NJ under new proposed registration policy

Japan Times: Foreigners living in Japan should be allowed five-year visas but kept under the eye of a new unified Justice Ministry-run nationwide identification system, a government panel on immigration control said in its report released Wednesday. The panel, made up of university professors and private-sector executives, said a new foreigner registration system and revision of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law should aim at creating “a symbiotic community” by providing a “pleasant environment for foreign residents in Japan.” While the report emphasizes that the proposed measures will enable the government to provide better services for foreign residents, critics view the new registry system as increased state control…

Terrie Lloyd reviews HANDBOOK positively on Daijob.com

Terrie Lloyd reviewing HANDBOOK at Daijob.com: “Indeed, this is one of the outcomes of reading the Handbook – it prompts you to want to find out more. Although the book has 376 pages, half of it is written in Japanese so that someone who you might be seeking advice from (a lawyer or Japanese friend or “senpai”) can quickly grasp the nature of what you are asking, and give you a more specific answer. This means that the Handbook is not only a quick read, but also is intended to be a framework rather than an exhaustive reference manual. Arudou addresses this fact by providing copious notes on where to go to get follow up help. By the time you read this, you should be able to pick up the Handbook at your local bookstore. But just in case you can’t, Arudou maintains a pretty comprehensive website at www.debito.org, and right on the front page there is a link with instructions on how to order a copy. I checked Amazon.com, but obviously the book is still too early to have gone through their registration process yet. The retail price is JPY2,415, and my personal opinion is that it is worth every yen. A necessary read for newcomers, and useful “gap filling” information for longer-term residents.”

Debito.org Podcast April 5, 2008: My March 18 FCCJ Speech in full on Trans Pacific Radio

In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast on Trans Pacific Radio, Arudou Debito has recorded his entire speech (a little more than an hour and a half), along with Q&A, given at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on March 18, 2008. This is the standard speech he gave during his recent three-week-long nationwide tour to promote HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN, so if you missed the tour, here’s your chance to see what he was on about. It’s not all about the book; he also talks about Japan’s lack of an immigration policy and issues of multiculturalization and Japan’s future.

Taste the irony: Japan proposes language requirement for foreign long-term visas, yet protests when Britain proposes the same

Yes, you read that right. The GOJ wants to issue Japanese language tests for long-term NJ visa renewals, yet protests when Great Britain proposes the same. Moral: We Japanese can treat our gaijin any way we like. But don’t you foreign countries dare do the same thing for members of Team Japan.

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 2, “Public Forums, Spinning Wheels”

JUST BE CAUSE Column 2: “At that point in the speech I began woolgathering — recalling all the warm-fuzzy forums I’d seen turn into woolly-headed worry sessions — and arrived at a sad conclusion: “Kokusaika” forums like these are wasted opportunities. For even if these events are put on by people genuinely concerned about the welfare of non-Japanese residents (not by the local-government “internationalization Old Boys,” justifying budgets for parties and overseas trips), if one is not careful the agenda will go on autopilot, bogged down in banalities.”…

“WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS” stickers for businesses now on sale at Debito.org (Paypal OK)

Happy to announce, along with the sale of HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, another new program on Debito.org to push back the night–and counteract the nationwide spread of JAPANESE ONLY signs on businesses: New signs that say “WE WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS”.

Trans Pacific Radio Podcast on HANDBOOK

In this edition of TPR spotlight, Debito Arudou joins TPR’s Garrett DeOrio and Ken Worsley to discuss the upcoming release of his new book, Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants, which is set to go on sale from March 15. In the interview, Debito speaks about why the book was written, what kinds of resources it offers for people moving to Japan, his relationship with co-author Akira Higuchi, the upcoming book tour, and what might be in store for the future of Japan’s increasing number of foreign residents who decide to stay in Japan long term, if not permanently.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 12, 2008

1) New publications up on Debito.org:
First JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times Column, Journal of Intl Health, NY Intl Law Review

The government cracks down, is cracked down upon:
2) IHT: GOJ to “govern influential, widely read news-related websites”. Like 2-Channel.
3) UN’s Mr Ban calls for all nations to face UN Human Rights Council scrutiny
4) Rube Redfield on the GOJ banning use of dispatch teachers in J universities

Tripe and onions:
5) Mainichi: Official figures for NJ visa overstayers drop again in 2007, yet NPA stresses rise
6) NYT: Michelin rankings and the alleged inability for NJ to rate Japanese food

Travelogue and opinions:
7) Interview with Debito on KPIJ re activism, new book, the GOJ, and “The Japanese Way”
8) Quick Report on Debito’s recent Okinawa Trip: AmerAsian School, Kina Shoukichi

… and finally…
9) “WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS” stickers for sale at Debito.org
10) LINKS TO PRESS RELEASE, PODCAST, BOOK TOUR, and ORDERING DETAILS (PAYPAL OK)
for “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants”

Outgoing BOJ chief Fukui Toshihiko proposes debate on immigration

AP: “utgoing Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui believes Japan ought to hold an in-depth discussion on immigration in the face of its aging and declining population. In a lecture late last month, Fukui, who is due to retire March 19, said the source of economic growth is an infusion of labor and the accumulation of capital but that manpower is decreasing in Japan because of the ongoing rise in the number of the elderly and fall in the number of newborns.”