APRIL 7, 2005

(most refusals to hear a case take at least six months or more)
indicating how seriously Japan's highest court takes issues of human rights
and racial discrimination in Japan.



Delivered-To: debito@debito.org
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 11:37:16 +0900
To: debito@debito.org
From: Arudou Debito <debito@debito.org>
Subject: 小樽温泉入浴拒否訴訟、最高裁が上告棄却

 皆様こんにちは。有道 出人です。お久しぶりです。ただいま!先日ピース ボートから帰国したので、後程レポートを書きます。しかし、帰国した当日、 記者からご連絡があり、既に小樽温泉訴訟の最高裁結果が下されたようです。 道新の記事を転送します。その後コメント。

被告の小樽市、勝訴確定 入浴拒否訴訟 有道さんの上告棄却  2005/04/08 00:41

 外国出身者であることを理由に温泉施設への入浴を拒否されたのは人種差別 撤廃条約などに違反するとして、日本国籍を持つ米国出身の大学助教授有道出 人(あるどうでびと)さん(40)=空知管内南幌町=が小樽市に賠償を求め た訴訟の上告審で、最高裁第一小法廷(才口千晴裁判長)は七日、有道さんの 上告を棄却する決定をした。

 「人種差別撤廃条約や憲法は市に差別撤廃条例の制定を義務付けていると はいえず、市は入浴拒否をやめるよう指導もしていた」などと判断して市の賠 償責任を否定した一、二審判決が確定する。

 原告側はこの訴訟で、施設経営会社(小樽)と小樽市に計二百万円の損害 賠償などを求めた。一、二審判決は会社側にのみ一人百万円(当時原告は有道 さんを含め三人)の賠償を命じ、こちらは原告側の勝訴が確定している。上告 したのは有道さんのみで、「差別是正に向けた小樽市の取り組みは不十分で違 法」などと主張していた。

 有道さんは一九九九年九月、この施設で日本人客が敬遠するとして入浴を 拒否された。日本国籍取得後の二○○○年十月にも施設を訪れたが、外見は外 国人であることに変わりはないとして再び入浴を拒まれたため提訴した。

 コメント:最高裁は早かったですね。筋によると、棄却ならたいてい半年や 1年間検討上で連絡が来ます。1月で敗訴した東京都看護士の在日の鄭さんの 場合、7年間もかかりました。私たちの場合は2ヶ月わずか(本年2月1日に 上告した)がかかったですね。これでどれくらい人種差別を重視しないのかは ある程度把握できると思います。

 次のステップは国連の人種差別撤廃委員会で挙げることです。(いままでそ うしなかった理由は、国連の指令で国内の司法制度を徹底的に通さないといけ ないのです)。そして、ほぼ10年間前に国連人種差別撤廃条約を発行して法 制化などを公約した日本国を不作為の根拠で相手取る訴訟を年内に起こしたい と思います。(http://www.debito.org/kunibengodan.html)

 のちほどこの件についてお知らせします。とりあえず、帰国して勤務先など でキャッチアップ中です。宜しくお願いいたします。
有道 出人
April 9, 2005. ENDS

Delivered-To: debito@debito.org
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 12:01:19 +0900
To: debito@debito.org
From: Arudou Debito <debito@debito.org>
Subject: Otaru lawsuit ends--Supreme Court rejects appeal

Hi all mailing lists and Reporters. Arudou Debito here. Just got back from a month abroad with the Peace Boat (http://www.peaceboat.org/english/voyg/48/spe/050330/index.html). More on that later, but for now, a shocking bit of news received on the very day of my return. Comment follows article:

City off hook over bathhouse barring of foreigners
Japan Times, April 8, 2005

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a naturalized Japanese seeking damages from a city government in Hokkaido in connection with a bathhouse's policy of barring foreigners from the facility.

The top court upheld district and high court rulings that found the Otaru Municipal Government had no obligation to pay damages sought by David Aldwinckle, a university associate professor and local resident, and two foreign nationals.

The two lower courts said a treaty Japan signed against racial discrimination does not oblige local-level authorities to enact specific ordinances. The Otaru government, for its part, had instructed the bathhouse to stop rejecting foreigners.

The three, including Aldwinckle, filed suit on Feb. 1, 2001, seeking a combined 6 million yen in damages from the city government and the bathhouse operator. Aldwinckle is now a naturalized Japanese who goes by the name of Debito Arudou.

In November 2002, the Sapporo District Court dismissed the suit for compensation against the city but ordered the bathhouse operator to pay 1 million yen each to the three plaintiffs.

Taking the case to the Sapporo High Court, the plaintiffs argued that the city had a duty to meet the requirements of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Japan signed in December 1995, by introducing an ordinance to ban racial discrimination.

The high court upheld the lower court ruling, calling the bathhouse's refusal to admit non-Japanese "unreasonable discrimination."

But it added, "The convention has only general, abstract provisions recommending appropriate measures to eliminate racial discrimination, and the Otaru government does not have any obligation to institute ordinances to ban such discrimination."

The court also said the city did instruct the bathhouse to stop its policy of barring foreigners.

In September 1999, Arudou, then still a U.S. citizen, and German Olaf Karthaus visited the Yunohana Onsen bathhouse in the port city and were refused entry because they were foreigners. Ken Sutherland, another American, was denied admission there in December 2000, according to the high court.

The bathhouse had put up a multilingual sign that in English said "Japanese only." It gave as a reason that trouble with drunken Russian sailors at similar facilities in the area had caused Japanese customers to stay away.

Arudou filed the complaint with the district court after the bathhouse again barred him from entry in October 2000, after he had become a Japanese citizen. He even presented his driver's license as proof of citizenship, to no avail...

The Japan Times: April 8, 2005

That sure was quick. Sources tell me that it usually takes about six or so months before the Supreme Court sends down bad news that a case won't be heard. They told us in barely two (we filed papers on February 1). It took the Court a full seven years to even tell Zainichi local government health worker Ms Chong Hyang Gyun (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20050201zg.htm ) of her recent court defeat. But at least they gave an opinion.

Not in this case. The Supreme Court refused to even hear an issue fundamentally related to the constitutional protections of people against racial discrimination accorded by local governments. Summarily, too. Tells us how seriously they take issues of human rights and constitutionality--even when a UN treaty Japan signed back in 1995 (which has the power of law in Japan) requires the government take all and immediate steps to eliminate racial discrimination.

Next steps? Take the issue before the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination (we couldn't until now--had to exhaust all domestic legal recourses first; consider it done), and launch a new lawsuit this year against the national government (as opposed to local), for negligence under international treaty for refusing to outlaw racial discrimination in Japan. More on that later.

Background on this case at
The next lawsuit

Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito
April 9, 2005

Go to the Otaru Onsen Lawsuit Site

小樽 温泉訴訟案内サイト へ