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…”
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!!
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
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 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…”
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.”
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…
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.
Reporter Pio from Italian TV TG24 recently reported from the ecological G8 Pre-Summit in Kobe about subjects I couldn’t understand (it was in Italian)–but wearing a “Japanese Only” T-Shirt from Debito.org! Huzzah! Links to broadcast and to t-shirt info site here…
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 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.
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…
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.
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.
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”
13) Humor: Sankei Sports Pure-Ai Keitai dating service advertisement
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
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.
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 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.”
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
6) HANDBOOK ADVERTISED IN ASAHI APR 13, SALES LEAP ON AMAZON JAPAN
日 時：5月17日（土）13：00〜１7：30 （懇親会18：00〜20：00）
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.
明石書店の広告のなか、私たちの本「ニューカマー定住ハンドブック」の宣伝が朝日新聞に載った。Advertisement for HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN appeared on Asahi book column April 13, 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
6) JAPAN TIMES JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 2
…ON LOCAL KOKUSAIKA FORUMS AS WASTED OPPORTUNITIES
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.”…
Want to peek inside HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS’ pages? Excerpt up at JAPAN FOCUS website, link from this blog entry.
Just a quick word to say that I’ll be on the road from now on, updating my blog (and approving comments) less often. Apologies. HANDBOOK Tour dates again, FYI:
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”.
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.
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”
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.”
Press Release: Forming NGO FRANCA
(Foreign Residents And Naturalized Citizens Association)
First Sendai And Osaka Meetings,
Sat March 15 And Tues March 25 Respectively
Open To The Public, Arudou Debito will speak
In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast, Arudou Debito talks about his upcoming book, HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN. Co-authored with Higuchi Akira and published by Akashi Shoten Inc., Debito tells us what’s in the book, what it’s trying to accomplish, and why he thinks you should consider buying it (Short answer= because it has lots of useful advice about how to secure your visa and job, how to start a business, what you should do if problems arise, how you can plan for your future, and how you can participate in Japan’s Civil Society; in other words, how to live better in Japan, from entry to death. Okay, maybe not such a short answer.)
I had an interview a few days ago with Turner, webmaster of “Keeping Pace in Japan”, regarding topics such as activism, the Japanese Government, “The Japanese Way”, and upcoming sale of HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS. Link to his site for clickable sound files and audible answers. Structure of the interview as follows:
IT’S THE TIME OF THE SEASON, AGAIN: FOREIGN CRIME IN THE NEWS
1) Kyodo says foreign crime down again in 2007, yet NPA wants further crackdown
2) Reuters: Study says Immigrants commit less crime (in California)
3) “Foreign crime” in reverse: The Miura Kazuyoshi Case
4) Aly Rustom compares treatment of NJ as crime suspect with crime victim
5) LA Times: Okinawa, alleged rape, and “outrage for show”
GOJ’S RECENT MOVES:
6) Terrie’s Take on Immigration’s looming crackdown on NJ residents’ whereabouts
7) Terrie’s Take on GOJ crackdown on dual nationality
8) MOFA Feb 12, 2008 Press Conference on language requirement for NJ Visas
9) ABC News (USA) finally breaks the story about Japan as haven for child abductions
10) Yomiuri: Govt to help NJ primary- and secondary-ed students learn Japanese
NJ COMMUNITY’S RECENT MOVES:
11) NUGW Tokyo Nambu “March in March” Mar 9, 2008 Shibuya
12) SAYUKI, Japan’s first Occidental NJ certified Geisha, offers special party rate to large groups of NJ clients
13) Interesting forthcoming book: “Another Japan is Possible”; citing Tony Laszlo of long-defunct “Issho Kikaku”
SPEAKING OF BOOKS…
14) Advance reviews and ordering details for forthcoming HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, by Akira Higuchi and Arudou Debito (due out March 15)
15) NEW JAPAN TIMES REGULAR MONTHLY COLUMN BY ARUDOU DEBITO:
“JUST BE CAUSE”, STARTS MARCH 4
Check out the NPA’s latest wheeze to claim that even a drop in NJ crime is a rise: Shift the goalposts:Kyodo: “The number of crimes committed by foreigners visiting Japan dropped for the second straight year to 35,800 last year, down 10.8 percent from the previous year, after hitting a peak in 2005, the National Police Agency said Thursday. However, the number of crimes detected by police during the five-year period from 2003 to 2007 increased some 70 percent from the period of with an NPA official stressing the need for further crackdown on them…” Wait, this conclusion doesn’t follow… And neither does the translation. Shame on Kyodo. Get better translators and stop swallowing NPA announcements without analysis.
JUSTICE SERVED, JUSTICE DENIED
1) Moharekar Case: Parents raise questions about baby’s death to Sapporo’s Tenshi Hospital
2) Matthew Lacey Case: Fukuoka police dismiss NJ death by blow to the head as “dehydration” (Yomiuri & Japan Times)
3) Mainichi: Chinese Trainees wage successful back-wage lawsuit against strawberry farm
4) Sankei compares NJ computer operators with toxic Chinese gyouza
5) Update on Valentine Lawsuit High Court Appeal
6) Idubor Case: A conversation with Mrs Idubor about life in Japan, and letters from Mr Idubor from prison specially for Debito.org
ISSUES OF BORDERS AND EFFECTS OF FOREIGN INFLUX
7) Asahi on how the GOJ doesn’t recognize NJ schools for tax funding, and why they should
8) Kyodo on USG pressure on Japan to do more fingerprinting
9) “Japanese Only” sign in Tsukiji Fish Market
10) Japan Times on Tsukiji’s tamping down on tourism
11) Alex Kerr on being a “Yokoso Ambassador” for the GOJ
12) DPJ at odds with itself over NJ voting rights
SPEECHES, PODCASTS, TV SPOTS, AND A BOOK TOUR
13) Italian TV SKY TG 24 on the Sapporo Snow Festival… and racial discrimination in Japan
14) January 22, 2008 speech to Waseda’s Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration, podcast and soundfiles in full
15) HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS on sale March 15, Japan Book Tour March 15 to April 1…
WASEDA UNIVERSITY DOCTORAL STUDENT NETWORK PRESENTS A SYMPOSIUM:
“Implications of Japanese domestic human rights record (for foreign residents or Japanese) on Asian Integration”
JANUARY 22, 2008 5PM-7PM,
FEATURED SPEAKERS: Kawakami Sonoko, Amnesty International, Katsuma Yasushi, Associate Professor, Waseda University, and Arudou Debito.
Christian Science Monitor: “Certainly, the self-image of a homogeneous society remains strong. But some say that perception is incorrect. The official count of registered foreign residents is 2 percent of the nation’s total population of 128 million; but that represents an increase of 47 percent in the past 10 years and excludes many non-Japanese residents. While Japan has witnessed more international marriages – 21,000 children are born to these couples every year – its census figures do not show ethnicity. Moreover, the number of registered foreigners does not include naturalized citizens, indigenous people, or those who overstay their visas, argues Debito Arudou, a US-born social activist who became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 2000.”
GOJ Foreign Minister Komura floated a policy trial balloon to require language testing and improvement before granting NJ long-term visas in future. Problems abound, not the least the GOJ is resorting to sticks, not carrots, to make people learn Nihongo. The term “long term” is vague, and how many laborers would want to spend all this time learning a language which only matter within this archipelago (when they could learn English, French, Spanish, etc. and work in lots more places)? I agree that everyone should learn how to read, write, and speak Japanese if they want to live here. I just think the proposal as it stands is (as usual) half-baked and encouraging of more NJ workplace and visa abuses.
SPECIAL ISSUE: STARING DOWN THE DISCRIMINATORS IN JAPAN
1) STARING DOWN AN EXCLUSIONARY BALLET SCHOOL IN TOKYO
2) STARING DOWN AN EXCLUSIONARY NEWSPAPER OUTLET IN ISHIKAWA PREF
3) STARING DOWN AN EXCLUSIONARY LANDLORD IN YAMAGATA
4) GOING TOO FAR IN THE OTHER DIRECTION: CHEST HAIR AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT!?
…and finally, just for fun…
5) HUMOR: LETTER TO THE EDITOR REGARDING GOJ “UFO INVASION” SCENARIO
Economist (London) on Immigration: “Above all, perspective is needed. The vast population movements of the past four decades have not brought the social strife the scaremongers predicted. On the contrary, they have offered a better life for millions of migrants and enriched the receiving countries both culturally and materially. But to preserve these great benefits in the future, politicians need the courage not only to speak up against the populist tide in favour of the gains immigration can bring, but also to deal honestly with the problems it can sometimes cause.”
Hi Blog. Here’s evidence that other countries are putting up less immigration controls, not more (unlike Japan with its new fingerprinting policy, justified on overtly xenophobic grounds). Yes, the article mentions that border controls are toughening outside the Schengen Zone, but it’s still an amazing feat to be able to drive from Estonia to Portugal …
Mainichi Waiwai: “”All the Japanese ever do is complain about us,” a Japanese-Brazilian resident of the Homi Danchi housing estate tells Spa! “They don’t accept us at all. We try to greet them and they just ignore us. They don’t want to have anything to do with us.” And here’s where Homi can serve as a harbinger. Danchi housing estates across Japan are losing their inhabitants as the country’s population shrinks. Japan’s current population of 126 million is estimated to drop below 100 million by 2050 unless something is done. More than likely, foreigners are going to be needed to make up for the lost 20-odd million. More and more public housing estates are going to become like Homi, where over half the current 8,000 inhabitants are non-Japanese.”
1) TOWARDS FOUNDING A NPO FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS, NATURALIZED CITIZENS, AND IMMIGRANTS
2) GOJ “JINKEN SHUUKAN” HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK AND ITS FLAWS
3) UNHCR DISMAYED BY SECRET DEATH PENALTY OF CONVICTS
ALSO TRYING TO PUT A BRAVE FACE ON JAPAN’S REJECTION OF REFUGEES
4) LITTLE BLACK SAMBO & GOLLIWOG DOLLS ON SALE AT RAINFOREST CAFE, NEAR DISNEYLAND
5) TOYOKO INN’S RACIAL PROFILING, PROTEST LETTER, AND SUGGESTED BOYCOTT
6) FUN FACTS: DIVORCE RISING, WORKFORCE TO PLUMMET, JAPAN’S MINUS GDP GROWTH,
AND 39% OF DIETMEMBER SEATS INHERITED
7) MORE ON NJ FINGERPRINTING:
CHUUGOKU SHINBUN, HOKKAIDO SHINBUN, DER SPIEGEL, NEWSWEEK, THE ECONOMIST,
THE JAPAN TIMES, THE MANITOBAN, AND JAMES FALLOWS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
PLULS ANONYMOUS ON SHINAGAWA FINGERPRINT PREREGISTRATION: A FARCE
8) IRONY: JAPAN POST CREATING “YOKOSO JAPAN” STAMPS. WITH DOMESTIC POST VALUE ONLY!
9) JAPAN TIMES PREZ OGASAWARA INTERVIEWED ON FUTURE OF PRINT MEDIA IN JAPAN
10) ARUDOU DEBITO DOING NEW BOOK TOUR IN MARCH 2008. DROP BY AND SPEAK?
News of my upcoming tour around Japan between March 17 to 31, to promote my next (co-authored) book–“GUIDEBOOOK FOR NEWCOMERS”. Its goal: To help non-Japanese entrants become residents and immigrants. Want to know more? Contact me. Want me to come speak? Ditto.