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    GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine becomes a “Taboo” topic in a 2007 magazine, victimizing J publisher

    Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2010

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    Hi Blog. Here’s something that’s been sitting on my server since September 2007 (!!) and I’ve finally decided to put up now. (Didn’t want to encourage sales of something like this by attracting attention to it until long after the fact.)

    A magazine on “Taboos”, sent to me more than two years ago by MS, tells the story of the reactionary gaijin who took the “Gaijin Hanzai Ura File” mook to task for the lies and hate speech it was spreading on convenience store newsstands nationwide (substantiation of that all here).  And portrays that pitifully misunderstod publisher, Eichi Shuppan Inc., which went bankrupt within two months of releasing that mook, as victim.

    It has quotes from me (even of me laughing) that it never garnered through any interviews (they apparently talked to Eichi, but I received no communication from this publication), and shows me as some sort of fearsome activist (thanks, I guess).  It of course offers no counterarguments to Eichi’s spurious published assertions, for example about the rise of NJ crime (I would have given those counterarguments if they’d only asked), accepting their assertions at face value.  And of course we have no real debate on whether or not the book was actually telling the truth or not (obviously, as I argued in many venues, it wasn’t).  For all the research they did pulling my written quotes out of context, they didn’t cite my questions of the veracity of the portrayals that assiduously at all.

    In other words, it’s a debate that once again favors and victimizes Team Japan.  Those poor victimized convenience stores responding to public pressure (yeah, like that worked for “Mr James”; McDonald’s basically ignored us).  It couldn’t just be that the stores carrying the mook were convinced by our arguments about its exaggerated and errant claims and hateful tone now, could it?  Naw, Japanese lost to the foreigners, therefore the foreigners didn’t fight fair.  And now because of that, we have yet another “taboo” that hurts We Japaneses’ Freedom of Speech.

    Hardly a “taboo” here.  You overdid it, and lost the debate.  That’s all.  And if you spread lies and hate speech in public again like this, you should be called on it again and debated against.  And if you lose the debate (moreover your company after your risky business decisions), don’t put it down to sour grapes and blame the other side for your losing.  Take responsibility for your actions like an adult, and put it down to publishing stupid things that were trying to defame and hurt people, particularly Japan’s NJ residents.  You lost.  Live with it.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    (Click on any image to expand in your browser)

    807.taboo.jpgTaboo1.jpgTaboo2.jpgTaboo3.jpgTaboo4.jpgTaboo5.jpgTaboo6.jpg

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 10 Comments »

    KTO on GAIJIN HANZAI and foreign crime

    Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Tonight’s entry (since I’m finding my Kyushu Cycletrek report harder going than I thought–a lot more to say than I anticipated) will be something I got from friend Steve this morning from the Kansai Time Out. Since KTO is not available everywhere in Japan, here are the pages scanned. All about GAIJIN HANZAI Mag and the media/GOJ’s approach to sexing up foreign crime. Hope you can stand run-on sentences…

    Anyway, the article says what we’ve been saying all along for years now; glad to see other reporters agree. More on GAIJIN HANZAI blogged here at http://www.debito.org/?cat=27 (page down to see previous articles. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    (Click on image to see full file.)

    Foreign Crime -- KTO_Page_1-1.jpg

    Foreign Crime -- KTO_Page_2-1.jpg
    ENDS

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 2 Comments »

    Gaijin Hanzai publisher Eichi Shuppan goes bankrupt

    Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Thanks to Trans-Pacific Radio for letting me know: Fukumimi blog reports (citing Japan Probe) that Eichi Shuppan, publisher of the infamous GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine, has gone bankrupt.  (And I don’t mean just morally bankrupt…)
    Now, before anyone says we dood it, read the report from Fukumimi below. Not sure GAIJIN HANZAI magazine was entirely responsible (but the bath they took on it certainly didn’t help).

    Then this begs the question: What was a publisher in such fragile condition trying to pull by taking on this high-risk (if they even saw it as that) controversial magazine? If it was merely trying to stir up debate, as the editor asserted throughout, then it should have had a bit more of a buffer cash flow in its safe. Naw. In the end, they were just trying to sell magazines through provocation, for they never expected it to be a flop (they obviously couldn’t afford one). No wonder they were on tenterhooks the whole time during this debate.

    Okay, people are probably expecting me to crow a bit. Well… let’s just state the obvious: Darwin Awards for the publishing industry. Eichi Shuppan was just stupid. Glass houses and stones? Publishing houses and racist overtones? Reap and sow. Debito

    =============================
    Good Bye to Eichi Publishing April 5, 2007
    Posted by fukumimi in Japan, Economy & Business. trackback
    Good bye and good riddance to the publisher (link appears down) of racially inflammatory content.
    http://fukumimi.wordpress.com/2007/04/05/good-bye-to-eichi-publishing/

    Eichi Shuppan has closed its doors and is being liquidated. It had oustanding debts of JPY2.3B (about $20 million give or take).

    I’m sure people like Debito and JapanProbe will be celebrating, although the failure of the business is unrelated to the recent fuss over racist publications, and is rather due to the fact that its parent company has closed its doors and Eichi was one of the subsidiaries which was already in trouble and could not stand on its own two feet. The publishing of smut had been transferred to a different company a long time ago (Eichi seems to have retained the sales rights in that reorganization, which was due to the company being busted on pornography charges), and that was the cash cow business anyway, although this line is no doubt also feeling the heat from internet sites (many of which apparently feature many scanned images from old magazines, including those of Eichi, so I’m told….)

    Addendum: The news is courtesy of Teikoku DataBank via a Nikkei Telecon subscription (no link available to the actual data regarding Eichi, but see here for an article).
    =========================================
    ENDS

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 2 Comments »

    Debito.org updates: Naturalization, kara kikan, foreign penises, and JT/Japan Focus to conclude GAIJIN HANZAI issue

    Posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

    Hi Blog. Been beavering away this evening getting some updates to Debito.org out of the way. To wit:

    /////////////////////////////////////

    NATURALIZATION UPDATE

    To ground things in more context, I’ve taken the liberty to start archiving articles dealing with how other countries (not just the US and Japan) deal with the aspect of citizenship and naturalization.

    Just included some articles on issues cropping up in Canada and Holland (where people are deprived of their citizenship due to technicalities), Austria and the Caribbean (where citizenship is for sale), and Moldova and Rumania (where history has created historical entitlement to emigration and citizenship in the latter).

    http://www.debito.org/naturalization.html#othercountries

    Will web more as I find them. Others are welcome to notify me at debito@debito.org
    /////////////////////////////////////

    WHAT TO DO IF… SITE

    Also added is an important essay (which unfortunately winked out of existence when the Issho Kikaku website was rendered defunct) resurrected by the authors on Debito.org:

    How your employment experience (in Japan or abroad) counts towards pensions in Japan (kara kikan), by Steve van Dresser and Stephanie Houghton (written 2002, but still applicable).

    http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#academicjob
    /////////////////////////////////////

    BEWARE OF FOREIGNERS–AND THEIR PENISES!

    Okay, thought that title would get you reading this post…

    ADVICE TO WOMEN ON WHAT TO AVOID IN RELATIONSHIPS
    INCLUDING FOREIGNERS

    courtesy
    JOSHI GAKUSEI DARAKU MANYUARU
    (“Manual for Women Students Regarding Depravity”)

    Published by Hikou Mondai Kenkyuukai (“Research Institute on the Delinquency Problem”) December 1995, particularly pages 72-75. Available at Amazon Japan. Information courtesy of Michael H. Fox (thanks).

    Still in print, this manual compares not only compares foreign penis sizes, it warns its intended Japanese female audience that having relations with foreigners is problematic because inter alia “they don’t have money”, “their temperament is too strong”, “they want a lot of sex”, and “there are a lot of junkies”.

    See all the scanned pages (Arabs are apparently the most well-endowed) at
    http://www.debito.org/joseidarakumanual.html

    Courtesy of your unfettered guarantee of freedom of speech in Japan (and the lack of any constraints generally associated with social science, or the Scientific Method). More to come…

    /////////////////////////////////////

    One more for now…

    JAPAN TIMES AND JAPAN FOCUS ON GAIJIN HANZAI MAGAZINE

    The first is a journalistic take on the issue, wrapping it up for posterity at 1500 words (full of images and links too), the second an academic overview for those who came in late at 6000 words.

    Anyway, readers of this blog will want the Cliff’s Notes version no doubt, so here it is:

    DEMISE OF CRIME MAGAZINE HISTORIC
    Gaijin Hanzai’s withdrawal from the market showed real power of ‘newcomers’ for the first time”

    By Arudou Debito
    Column 35 for the Japan Times Community Page
    Published March 20, 2007

    “DIRECTOR’S CUT”, annotated, with links to sources at
    http://www.debito.org/japantimes032007.html

    Quick-and-dirty Japan Times version at
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070320zg.html

    The deluxe academic version:
    “GAIJIN HANZAI MAGAZINE AND HATE SPEECH IN JAPAN: The newfound power of Japan’s international residents” (March 20, 2007) is available at Japan Focus
    http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2386

    That should do for now. I’m pretty much all written out for one day.
    G’night. Debito in Sapporo

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    Posted in debito.org blog and website biz, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Labor issues, Media | 2 Comments »

    GAIJIN HANZAI: Why I believe the police were behind its publication (UPDATED)

    Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2007

    Hi Blog. I spent the weekend writing up a 6000-word essay for publication at an academic source on the GAIJIN HANZAI Case and what it means.

    I believe it is an historical event–the first time we’ve seen the “Newcomer” immigrants band together and show their muscle as an economic bloc.

    I also speculate on who the publisher, “Joey H. Washington”, is.

    I believe it is the police.

    Hear me out.

    The arguments as I present them in my essay, FYI, follow below. This is still a rough draft (and footnotes are not included for the time being), and not necessarily how it will turn out in the final version. But I think my reasoning is pretty strong. See for yourself if you agree.

    (And see the whole GAIJIN HANZAI mook scanned in full at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultraneo/sets/72157594531953574/)

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    UPDATE MARCH 16: FINALLY GOT THE ACADEMIC VERSION DONE, SHOULD BE OUT PRESENTLY. WATCH THIS BLOG. AND SINCE I INCLUDED PHOTOS IN THE ACADEMIC VERSION, IT’S A CINCH TO ADD THEM TO THIS BLOG POSTING. ADD SEVERAL THOUSAND WORDS WITH SEVERAL PICTURES, AS THEY SAY. –DEBITO

    ———————-

    PS:  Just heard word last night–somebody found 15 GH mags on sale at bookstore Junkudo in Tenjin, Fukuoka March 2.  
    He notified the shopkeeps of the issue and the books were taken off the shelves.  Eyes peeled, everyone. D

    gaijinhanzaijunkudo030207.jpg
    ////////////// EXCERPT BEGINS  /////////////////////////

    THE INVISIBLE HAND BEHIND THE MOOK

    In the end, one mystery remains: Who produced this publication? The “publisher” (hakkousha) listed on the binding is a Mr “Joey H. Washington”, who does not exist. Despite repeated requests, Saka refuses to reveal his patron.

    This matters, because it is clear that whoever funded this is rich and powerful. There are no advertisements whatsoever within GAIJIN HANZAI, yet, according to a source in the publishing world, it would cost at least a quarter of a million dollar US to print something of this quality and volume. Moreover, this patron is powerful enough to convince Saka, who initially agreed to appear at a luncheon press conference with the United Nations at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) on February 26, to avoid the event 23.

    Allow me to speculate. I believe the National Police Agency, or some police branch, was behind it. Here are my arguments behind that belief:

    For one, I mentioned deep pockets, and what deeper pockets are there than tax monies (which the NPA, and particularly the National Public Safety Commission (kokka kouan iinkai) with their secret budgets and a clear mandate to monitor foreigner activity24 , have ample access to)?

    Another clue is the degree of information and access to the police. No fewer than three articles quote the NPA or ex-police, and the last pages have masterful summaries of foreign crimes (including names and ages) that would be most easily collated by the police databases. Even Saka admitted in his abovementioned ipcdigital interview that, “We have spoken with Japanese police in order to write each article. For them this issue is serious and they have provided the data.” [Emphasis mine]. It is remarkable that the police would cooperate to this degree with Eichi Shuppan, a mid-tier pornography publisher, given the borderline illegality and threat to “public morals” (fuuki) that the sex trades pose within Japan.

    Finally, the photos are a giveaway. Either the photographer has the patience of Ansel Adams and the ability to be everywhere at once, or these are police photographs and camerawork. The police feature prominently in several photographs, and given how sensitive cops are to being photographed (I have received many reports from angry photographers, who have been told by police to delete their photos on site, wondering if the NPA even the right to demand that in a public place), the photographer must be wearing an invisibility cloak.

    (Make your browser window as wide as possible to see these pages side by side)

    ghpg9.jpgghpg8.jpg

    Not to mention own a hang glider, since many of the shots are “eye in the sky”, at just the right angle to be from surveillance cameras.

    ghpg23.jpgghpg22.jpg

    ghpg13.jpgghpg12.jpg

    These spy cameras, by the way, are proliferating throughout certain regions of Tokyo (such as Roppongi and Kabukicho) precisely because they have a high foreign population. However, in GAIJIN HANZAI, no other place in Japan is even included photographically with crowds of foreigners. Only places with police surveillance cameras. For a book cataloging foreign crime throughout Japan (and there are many other places, such as towns in Shizuoka and Gifu Prefectures, with higher percentages of foreigners), the visual focus on Tokyo is oddly convenient for the police.

    Finally, there is data in this book that only the police have access to, such as a passport photo of a suspect (page 19).
    ghpg19.jpg

    If they are not financially behind the mook, then they are certainly supplying the data, and perhaps some of the analysis.

    This would be within character of the NPA since 1999. As I have written in my book JAPANESE ONLY (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2006, pages 196-209), there was a sea change in police attitudes towards foreigners shortly after the founding of the “Policy Committee Against Internationalization (kokusaika taisaku iinkai) in May 1999. By the very title of the organization, and the policy writeup in JO pages 206-207, police would see foreigners and the internationalization they would cause as a source of crime, something to create taisaku policy against.

    This policy shift was apparent less than a year later, with Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s famous “Sangokujin Speech” of April 9, 2000. Ishihara called upon the Self-Defense Forces to fill in the gaps in Japan’s police forces in the event of a natural disaster, since foreigners would unprecedentedly riot. Since then, the Tokyo Government (the current vice-governor is an ex-cop), the Koizumi Administration, the media, and local police agencies made concerted efforts to create and disperse public-service information on the threat to public safety and stability (such as “infectious diseases and terrorism “) which foreigners allegedly pose 26.

    This has reached a degree where even an academic survey has reported: “[T]he Japanese public’s fear of crime is not in proportion to the likelihood of being victimized. What is different is the scale of this mismatch. While Japan has one of the lowest victimization rates, the International Crime Victim Surveys indicate that it has among the highest levels of fear of crime…”27 . The report goes on to say, “[T]he Japanese press… is presenting a partial and inaccurate picture of current crime trends.” Another academic concurs, to say that in media coverage, “crimes by foreigners were 4.87 times more likely to be covered than crimes by Japanese.”28

    Given that the NPA gives regular biannual reports to the media appraising them specifically of the rise in foreign crime rates (and decline, although sometimes the Japanese media refuses to report it 29), the NPA supplying this publisher with this much information is in this author’s opinion neither unprecedented nor out of character. Not to mention that in this age of terrorism, whipping up public fear has proven a very effective measure for loosening public purse strings.30

    /////////////////// EXCERPT ENDS /////////////////////////

    Full essay to come…

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media | 11 Comments »

    Wash Times on UN Diene visit, Ibuki, Gaijin Hanzai etc

    Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Two nice 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. Thanks to the author for notifying me. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Insular power poses unique issues on bias
    Published March 9, 2007 Washington Times
    By Takehiko Kambayashi

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20070308-111427-2527r.htm

    Doudou Diene, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, who was in Tokyo last week, spoke with Takehiko Kambayashi of The Washington Times about racism and xenophobia in Japan. His report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission last year urged Japan to immediately adopt a law against racism, race discrimination and xenophobia.

    Question: What made you investigate racism in Japan?

    Answer: I was elected by the United Nations Human Rights Commission as a special rapporteur and given a mandate to investigate racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. I issue a yearly report on racism worldwide and investigate racism in different countries.

    First, Japan is a global economic power, but the country is insular. This contradiction interested me, and I investigated racism in Japan. Japan’s population had been isolated for long [from the 1630s to the 1850s, under a national policy], but it is now becoming more multicultural and multiethnic. So I wanted to investigate how Japan is coping with this.

    Second, I’ve come to Japan many times. I knew about the Burakumin, which made me interested. I visited Buraku communities. I spent a great amount of time with the people and looked at their situations and listened to them.

    I also met the Ainu, [indigenous people living mostly on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island] and learned how they tried to save their identity and were facing different forms of discrimination. And finally, I realized the complexities among Japan, China and Korea. I also learned of the discrimination Koreans and Chinese suffered in Japan.

    [Editor’s note: The Burakumin are not a racial minority but a castelike minority among the Japanese. They are recognized as descendents of an outcast population of the feudal days. According to the Buraku Liberation League, Japan has 6,000 Buraku communities with more than 3 million people.]

    Q: Can you tell us how the issues of racism in Japan differ from those in other countries?

    A: Each country has its own history, its own culture and dynamic population. It is difficult to compare.

    In Japan, one of the deep roots of discrimination is history – not only the history of Japan but the history of the relationship between Japan and neighboring countries. It is in the context of this history that discrimination has been built up strongly. It is clear that the history of discrimination against the Burakumin and the Ainu has been profoundly related with the history of Japanese feudal society and Japan’s history.

    It is also clear that discrimination against Koreans living in Japan is also the consequence of the history of Imperial Japan, the way Japan dominated their country with an ideology of cultural domination and contempt. History is a very important factor.

    Q: So this is a challenge to Japan?

    A: The challenge to Japan is the writing and teaching of history. The Ainu and the Burakumin are absent in national history. Their history, their culture, the process of the discrimination, the deep causes of the discrimination, all of these are absent in Japanese history.

    Japanese history, as it’s taught in schools, is also silent about the way China and Korea profoundly influenced the construction of Japanese identity. China and Korea are considered to be the father and mother of Japan, in a way, in terms of language, culture and religion.

    My recommendation is for Japan to agree with China, Korea and other countries in the region and start a joint drafting of the region’s history. I recommended that these countries call upon [the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] to coordinate.

    ARTICLE ENDS
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    SECOND WASHINGTON TIMES ARTICLE BEGINS

    Japanese confront differences
    By Takehiko Kambayashi
    THE WASHINGTON TIMES Published March 9, 2007

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20070308-111434-8198r.htm

    TOKYO–While Japan is becoming more multicultural and multiethnic, some say coping with it is still a daunting task. That is exemplified by recent comments by Japan’s Education Minister Bunmei Ibuki, critics say.

    “Japan has been historically governed by the Yamato race [ethnic Japanese],” Mr. Ibuki told a convention of the Liberal Democratic Party’s chapter in Nagasaki late last month, adding that the country is “extremely homogeneous.”

    However, international marriages in Japan increased from 27,727 in 1995 to 41,481 in 2005.

    Mr. Ibuki, who describes himself on his Web site as an “internationally minded person acquainted with many foreign dignitaries,” shocked the Japanese with his comments and infuriated minorities like the Ainu indigenous people.

    Yupo Abe, vice president of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido, said he was astonished to hear Mr. Ibuki’s comments, adding that the head of Japan’s Education Ministry “lacks an understanding of history.”

    Mr. Abe said the Ainu people had long lived in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, which makes up about 20 percent of the country’s land mass, but in 1869 Japan took away their land.

    The stir created by Mr. Ibuki’s remarks coincided with a visit by Doudou Diene, the United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance who wrote a report on Japan.

    “I am surprised that these comments were made by the minister of education, whose function is to educate children, enlighten them and transmit values to them,” said Mr. Diene. “There is no such thing as a homogeneous society.”

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, said there was nothing wrong with Mr. Ibuki’s remarks.

    “I think he was referring to the fact that we [the Japanese] have gotten along with each other fairly well so far,” he said. “I don’t see any specific problem with that.”

    “Such words will only fuel doubts about Mr. Abe’s integrity as a national leader,” countered the Japan Times, an English-language daily, in an editorial.

    Last year, Mr. Diene submitted his report on Japan to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and U.N. General Assembly, urging Japan to recognize the existence of racial discrimination and immediately adopt a law against it.

    Some recent incidents seem to indicate the need for such a law.

    Last month a sensational magazine titled “Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes” went on sale across the country with its cover screaming “Will we let gaijin [foreigners] lay waste to Japan?” and “Everyone will become a target of foreign crime in 2007!” [“Gaijin” is a loaded word that literally means “outsider.”] The magazine provoked outrage over its garish depictions of Chinese, Koreans, Iranians and U.S. servicemen.

    A boycott movement prompted major convenience stores like Family Mart, 7-Eleven and others to pull the magazines off their shelves.

    The magazine’s editor Shigeki Saka of Eichi Publishing was not apologetic. He said the magazine wanted to discuss crimes committed by foreigners and how to be prepared for them.

    The Japanese press generally ignored the issue, said U.S.-born Debito Arudou, a Japanese citizen. “There’s a reason for that: It’s not something that people want to discuss when it comes to real, naked racism.”

    Moreover, in a nation that aspires to a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, some businesses still display “Japanese Only” signs. In Koshigaya, a bedroom community of Tokyo, Eden, an “adult entertainment shop,” has posted a sign saying “Pure-Blooded Japanese Male Only,” and “Chinese and Naturalized people, Japanese war orphans left in China, people of mixed race with Chinese origin, Absolutely No Entry.”

    A manager said the shop itself did not mean to discriminate against those at whom it pointed a finger, but its female staff members don’t want them.

    Such “Japanese Only” signs can be seen across Japan, said Mr. Arudou, author of “Japanese Only.”

    “It’s getting worse. It’s nationwide.”

    ” ‘Japanese Only’ signs are unconstitutional, but they are not illegal because there is no law to enforce the constitution,” Mr. Arudou said.

    Ironically, since Japan’s current population of 127 million is expected to fall to below 100 million by 2050, some say more foreigners should be encouraged to live and work in Japan for the country’s own survival.

    ARTICLES END

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, United Nations | 2 Comments »

    J Times on GAIJIN HANZAI, finally

    Posted on Friday, February 23rd, 2007

    Hi Blog. Japan Times finally got to doing a story on the GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine. Fortunately, it’s probably the best article I’ve seen on it. Includes actual statistics of magazines sold and sent back (Family Mart, interestingly enough, was entrusted with about half the copies printed), and crime statistics debunking the book’s claims. Thanks Masami. Debito in Sapporo

    ////////////////////////////////////////

    [photo caption]
    This is the cover of Kyogaku no Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (Shocking Foreigner
    Crime: the Underground File), a special-edition magazine published by
    Tokyo-based Eichi that has triggered public outrage and caused Family Mart
    to call it discriminatory and pull it off the shelves.

    FAMILY MART CANS SALES
    Mag on foreigner crimes not racist: editor
    By MASAMI ITO Staff writer
    The Japan Times: Friday, Feb. 23, 2007

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070223f1.html

    “Now!! Bad foreigners are devouring Japan,” screams the warning, surrounded
    by gruesome caricatures of foreigners who look like savages, with blood red
    eyes and evil faces.

    The subtitle along the bottom of special edition magazine Kyogaku no Gaijin
    Hanzai Ura Fairu (Shocking Foreigner Crime: the Underground File) asks, “Are
    we allowing foreigners to devastate Japan?” with a tiny qualifier “some” on
    the first kanji.

    The 125-page single edition is about crimes committed by non-Japanese.

    The pages are filled with crime stories and photographs of alleged crimes
    being committed, drug deals, stabbings, gang fights and arrests — all of
    them involving people from a wide range of countries. Some of the
    nationalities named are Iranian, Chinese, South Korean, Brazilian and
    Nigerian.

    A spokesman for Family Mart, the main distributor, said that two days after
    the magazine was released at the end of January, it began receiving e-mail
    complaints.

    According to a leaflet circulated by a group of protesters, the magazine
    “gives discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of
    Japan.”

    After receiving more than 10 complaints, Family Mart took a closer look at
    the magazine.

    “When we read it, we found some expressions to be discriminatory and decided
    to stop selling the book,” said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of
    anonymity.

    On Feb. 5, the firm ordered all its 6,800 outlets nationwide to remove the
    magazine from the shelves and shipped them back to Eichi. It said that of
    the 15,000 copies in stock — of the 20,000 to 30,000 that had been printed
    — 1,000 were sold.

    Shigeki Saka, editor of the magazine, claimed Eichi did not intend to
    discriminate against foreigners but wanted to provide an opportunity for
    “discussion” about the issue.

    “This book was not originally published for foreign readers,” Saka said. “It
    was to raise the issue (of crimes committed by foreigners) in Japanese
    society. . . . But I believe the foreigners have the fear that they will be
    viewed in the same way” as criminals.

    Carlo La Porta, whole holds British and Italian citizenship and has lived in
    Tokyo for 16 years, said he thought the magazine painted foreigners as
    criminals.

    The magazine “brings a problem into focus without adding perspective to it,
    and as such implies that foreigners at large commit a lot of crimes,” La
    Porta said.

    Although the headline of a feature interview with a former Metropolitan
    Police Department investigator, on the magazine cover, says, “In 2007,
    anyone could be [sic–the Japanese says “ni naru”, will be, not “ni nareru” could be]
    the target of foreigner crime!!” the number of crimes
    committed by non-Japanese has actually fallen recently.

    According to a report on organized crime to the National Police Agency,
    18,895 foreigners were arrested in 2006, a decline of 2,283 from 2005.

    In 2005, the number of foreigners arrested for serious crimes — murder,
    robbery, arson and rape — fell to 396 from 421 arrests the previous year.

    The 21,178 foreigners arrested in 2005 constituted only 5.5 percent of the
    386,955 arrests that year.

    Eichi’s Saka said he published the book despite the recent decline in
    crimes, a point the magazine briefly mentions.

    “The content (of the magazine) really is not intended to get rid of
    foreigners nor is it extreme in tone. It is based only on facts,” Saka
    claimed.

    “I wanted to talk about the economic situation and environment in Japan that
    has caused foreigners to commit crimes. But it does contain a little bit of
    extreme expressions, for commercial purposes.”

    The magazine contains several articles about the bad conditions many
    foreigners work under, linking that to criminal activity.

    One feature article says poor working conditions in Japan “have caused
    (foreigners) to build resentment toward Japanese society and, one after
    another, more people are getting involved in crimes because of the hardships
    in their lives.”

    On what are called “entertainment” pages, there are photographs of
    foreigners and Japanese women embracing on Tokyo streets. One photo of a
    black man and a Japanese woman has the caption, “Hey nigger!! Don’t touch
    that Japanese woman’s ass!!”

    Saka said that while he knew the term “nigger” is racist, he reckoned it
    would have a different nuance written in Japanese. “We used it as street
    slang, writing it in katakana. But if we had known that we would get such a
    huge reaction from foreigners, we might have refrained from using it,” he
    figured.

    Saka said that although the book had been pulled from Family Mart, it is
    still available at some bookstores and on the Internet.

    Hideki Morihara, secretary general of International Movement Against All
    Forms of Discrimination and Racism, said the magazine is only part of a
    wider problem for which the government is partially responsible.

    He said the government frequently links foreigners with the growing threat
    of crimes in Japan and is creating the image that all foreigners are
    potential criminals.

    He cited how in 2003, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, along with the
    Immigration Bureau and the NPA, launched a campaign to cut the number of
    illegal foreign residents in Japan by half within five years.

    A joint statement released at the start of the campaign says “immediate
    action must be taken to resolve the issue of illegal overstayers for the
    safety of our country” because “the existence of some illegal overstayers
    (is the source) of foreign organized crime that occurs frequently.”

    Morihara also said that last year’s legislation to revise the immigration
    law to enable photographing and fingerprinting of every foreigner entering
    Japan gives the impression that foreigners are potential terrorists.

    “It is a big mistake to think that by categorizing foreigners as dangerous,
    Japan will be protected,” Morihara said.

    The Japan Times: Friday, Feb. 23, 2007
    ENDS

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 3 Comments »

    GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka responds on Japan Today, with my rebuttal

    Posted on Friday, February 16th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Here we have an interesting development: The editor of the GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES responds to his critics. A fascinating and relatively rare glimpse into the mindset of a person with a “thing” about gaijin. I post his response below, then I offer up some comment after each paragraph:

    =================================
    CRIME
    Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics
    By Shigeki Saka, Editor, Eichi Shuppan Inc

    Japan Today
    Friday, February 16, 2007 at 07:03 EST
    Courtesy http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/399166/all

    TOKYO — Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

    The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

    On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

    This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

    On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

    Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

    What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

    For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

    That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

    Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English word

    Another criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

    Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

    Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

    Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

    Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

    Shigeki Saka is an editor at Eichi Publishing Company in Tokyo.

    ============================

    Now let me reprint the entire article and offer comments below each paragraph:

    ============================

    Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics

    First of all, let me thank Mr Saka for taking the trouble to respond. Most people of his ilk do not come forward with their views and hold them up to scrutiny. (The publisher himself hides behind the name “Joey H. Washington”, which is legally questionable) So I offer these comments hopefully in the same spirit with a bit less defensiveness, and hope that a constructive dialogue, which Mr Saka indicates he wants, will ensue in future.

    Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

    Right from the start we get the underlying current of the mindset behind the response: A perpetual feeling of victimization on the part of people who threw the first stone. As if the critics are the bad guys guilty of “harassment”. Agreed, there are limits to how far criticism can go, and once there is a threat of violence the line has been crossed. But ye shall reap. You wilfully create an inflammatory book and put it on bookshelves nationwide, you will get inflammatory reactions. As an editor in the publishing world, Mr Saka should by now be used to criticism. But to cry about his own treatment in the media, after publishing something this distorted, shows a definite lack of self-reflection that will do him little good as a professional in future.

    The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

    The meaning of “taboo”, even in Japanese, means something that cannot be discussed. However, there has been much discussion about foreign crime since 2000, from Ishihara to the NPA to the tabloids to the Wide Shows to the respectable press. Not taboo at all, and for an editor to get this word so wrong in even a formal debate calls into question his qualifications as an editor and wordsmith.

    As for distorting the facts, GAIJIN HANZAI does a respectable job of doing it all on it’s own (starting from the very cover, where “gaijin” are going to “devastate” Japan if we let them, and where “everyone” will be a target of “gaijin crime” this year). Saying that people on both sides are getting it wrong (even if true) is no defense, and no license to do it yourself.

    On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

    I don’t want to get hung up on semantics here (as I have not seen the original interview in Japanese), but here we have the victim complex combined with the editor clearly admitting which side he’s on. “Our” side. “Our” daughters. “Our” homes. As opposed to crime affecting everybody badly, which it does. You can’t do “us” and “them” when criminals are indiscriminate sharks who treat everybody as food. Especially since almost all criminals in Japan are Japanese no matter how you fudge the “facts”.

    Whether or not the foreign criminal is out to “destroy Japan” (as opposed to take advantage of it for profit motive like any other criminal regardless of nationality) feels more like a figment of Mr Saka’s active imagination. Last I heard, there are no real anti-government anarchic groups out there run by foreigners; that’s usually the domain of the Japanese radicals.

    This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

    This “attitude” being referred to here is not the fault of the critics, but the fault of the instigator, in this case the people who funded Mr Saka and Eichi Shuppan. By all means, let’s have an informed discussion about where crime and criminality comes from. But putting it in terms of racial and nationality paradigms certainly does not inform the discussion. Given how blunt these tools of analysis are as social science, this book generates far more heat than light.

    Criminality is completely unrelated to nationality anyway. By offering no comparison to Japanese crime, there is no chance for informed conversation whatsoever since it is not grounded in any context. Which means the entire premise of your book is flawed and not on any search for the truth.

    What you are getting, however, IS frank discussion. But you pass that off as “harassment”. Your positioning yourself as the victim switches off so many intellectual avenues.

    On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

    Here we go with the victim mentality again, where an “army” of bloggers (I’m amazed the translator didn’t use the word “horde”) “bullied” innocent victim convenience stores into submission. This odd world-view assumes a) non-Japanese are that organized (Believe you me, they’re not! Unless you get their dander up like your magazine so effectively did.), and b) the convenience stores were powerless to stop them (No, the shopkeeps–and EVERY other Japanese I have shown this magazine to–reacted to your rhetoric, particularly when one showed them the pages with the interracial public displays of affection–with shame and revulsion. One didn’t even need fluency in Japanese to inform the discussion. You made our job incredibly easy for us.)

    No, the shopkeeps and distributors, who apologized not out of fear or compulsion, decided for themselves that this book was offensive and not worthy of their racks. As did your advertisers, as you admit below.

    Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

    Let’s walk through this Trojan Horse of logic. You deliberately put out a book that will aggravate a section of the Japanese population. If anyone successfully protests, you say we are censoring you. Drop the tatemae, already, and stop hiding behind pat and half-baked ideas of “free speech” when the honne is that all you want to do is sell books. And it was after people actually SAW the mook that shopkeeps followed through with sending them back.

    (And for those who haven’t seen the mook, here’s the whole thing, scanned, and available for free:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultraneo/sets/72157594531953574/)

    What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

    No lies, such as talking about Japanese penis size? Or that a Mr. “Joey H. Washington” published this book…? Anyway…

    You fill the book with statistics, yes. But three tests of telling the truth is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By leaving out any mention of Japanese crime, which is, if anything, more likely to target Japanese and devastate the Japanese way of life, you leave out the whole truth. This is a distortion, which is inaccurate.

    So are the statistics about rising crime rates. Many crime rates in certain sectors (and in general, according to recent news) have fallen. So have the numbers of visa overstayers EVERY YEAR since 1993. Maybe you didn’t get all that in before press time. Or maybe you just did not feel that these “facts” were convenient enough for inclusion.

    For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima [SIC–It was Fukuoka]. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

    For instance, it is true that a woman in Wakayama fed her neighbors poisoned curry rice. It is true that a Tokyo woman killed her husband with a wine bottle, cut him into little pieces, and threw him away with the nama gomi. It is true that a man killed a British hostess for his own sexual predilections. It is true a man killed his Dutch partner in Paris and ate her. It is true that a prostitute strangled her patron, dismembered him, and walked around town with his penis around her neck… Need I go on?

    All of these criminals were Japanese. How would it feel if I were to write a book and publish it overseas saying you should never eat curry in Wakayama because Wakayama people might poison you. Or that one should never marry a Japanese woman because she might bludgeon you with a bottle and cut your prick off?

    Or that a Japanese robber posing as a doctor poisoning everyone in a bank shows that Japanese are more devious than Westerners because they have to kill everyone in the building in order to get at the money? I bet there would be howls from the media and even the Japanese embassy.

    And the groping thing? The Japanese government has to take measures to segregate public transportation because the “chikan” problem is so bad here. The differences between this and that is that it’s harder to photograph the same acts happening in a crowded train. And that it is consensual. Which means it is not a crime, and beyond the scope of this book.

    That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

    Another Trojan Horse of logic. No, Eichi Shuppan didn’t block out the gaijin faces because they didn’t think there would be any trouble from them, especially legally. Why not leave in the Japanese faces for more illustrative power that the situation is Japanese vs gaijin? Because you’d be slapped with a lawsuit for invasion of privacy, that’s why. Again, lose the tatemae.

    Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English wordAnother criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

    You are seriously trying to argue that nigaa is not derived from the English epithet, that the Japanese streets just spontaneously came up with it to describe people with high melanin skin, or that it has no emotive connection to its root? 

    I wonder who elected Mr Saka representative of all Japanese when it comes to interpreting how we feel about epithets. Every Japanese I have shown this book to (and I have shown it to thousands) has recoiled at the word (and one display to the shopkeeps gets it quickly removed from the shelves). Try saying it on Japanese television or using it in the respectable press. And try being the target of “jappu”, “nippu”, “yellow monkey”, “yellow cab” etc. anywhere in the world and see if that “street slang” defense works.

    Same with the word “gaijin”, used in every situation in the book (even the title) except when citing police statistics (where the official word is “gaikokujin”, of course). Even here we translate it as “foreigner”, which is not the same word with the same emotive power either. But interpretation of epithets is less the property of the speaker, more the person being addressed. And Mr Saka’s attempt in an earlier explanation to say “this book is for a Japanese audience” (which he does not make in this essay) is a facile attempt to exclude or deligitimize the non-Japanese resident’s voice from the free and open debate he so highly prizes.

    Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

    I am looking forward to your next expose on the Yakuza and their methods of crime. Then I think you would have some real security concerns. A few angry letters in your email box does not a similarly life-threatening harrassment campaign make.

    You still haven’t answered the question of where your funding came from. And the fact that advertisers had more sense than to be associated with your mook (and shopkeeps and distributors, once notified of the contents, also quickly washed their hands of you) should be some cause for self-reflection on your part.

    Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

    Cue victim complex again. We Japanese been done wrong (one or two generations ago, when Japanese were likewise contemporarily calling gaijin “devils”, “barbarians”, “lazy illiterates”…). So it justifies our doing wrong right back. How far back do we have to go here to justify the use of historically hateful and insulting epithets in the present day? And does Eichi Shuppan really want to sink to the level of the bigots (found in every society) who use those terms of debate?

    Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

    Cue the possession complex again. “Our country” belongs to us too. We live here, and pay taxes and contribute to Japanese society the same as everyone else. Only by honestly dealing with the fact that Japanese social problems are not so easily blamed on foreigners, or on an internationalizing society, can we prepare “our culture” for the challenges of Japan’s future.

    The operative word here is “honestly”. But thanks to books like GAIJIN HANZAI, which conflates criminality with nationality, I think that is beyond the likes of Mr Saka, Eichi Shuppan, or their anonymous patrons.

    Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

    So why isn’t the book entitled “NINGEN HANZAI”? Because it’s not about talking about violent and illegal behavior “as human beings”. Nor about our “own problems”, but rather about “gaijin” and the evils that they do because they are gaijin. And how in some places in the book they should not be here in the first place and how we must defend ourselves from them. The problem being pointed at is not “ourselves”. It is about “them” and how they hurt “us”.

    =======================

    In conclusion, the reason why the mook should not go back on the shelves:

    In my view, when one publishes something, there are of course limits to freedom of speech. Although Japanese laws are grey on this, the rules of thumb for most societies are you must not libel individuals with lies, maliciously promote hate and spread innuendo and fear against a people, and not wilfully incite people to panic and violence. The classic example is thou must not lie and shout “fire” in a crowded theater. But my general rule is that you must not make the debate arena inconducive to free and calm, reasoned debate.

    GAIJIN HANZAI fails the test because it a) wilfully spreads hate, fear, and innuendo against a segment of the population, b) fortifies that by lacking any sort of balance in data or presentation, and c) offers sensationalized propaganda in the name of “constructive debate” (when I don’t think Mr Saka has any intention of doing anything more than selling magazines; he is on no search for the truth–only wishes to hawk wares for wareware nipponjin). Dialog is not promoted by fearmongering.

    Even then, we as demonstrators never asked for the law, such as it is, to get involved. We just notified distributors of the qualms we had with this book, and they agreed that this was inappropriate material for their sales outlets. We backed that up by proposing a boycott, which is our inviolable right (probably the non-Japanese residents’ only inviolable right) to choose where to spend our money as consumers. We proposed no violence. Only the strength of our argument and conviction.

    It’s not like this is a fair fight here–we do not have an entire publishing house at our disposal, with access to every convenience store in Japan, so we can publish a rebuttal side by side.  And the fact that the Japanese press has completely ignored this issue is indicative of how stacked the domestic debate arena is against us. You think the domestic press is going to go to bat for us and naturally restore balance to the national debate on foreign crime?

    We did what we could, and it worked.  Especially since the tone of GAIJIN HANZAI did our work for us. You should be kicking yourself for making our job so easy.

    ========================

    Again, I thank Mr Saka for making his ideology so plain. Ultimately, he comes off as a crybaby who sees other people going about their business, gets angry because the people there remind him of someone who teased him in grade school, then puts up posters accusing those people of ruining his neighborhood. Then wonders why people get angry at him, and accuse them of violating his freedom of expression when they pull those posters down. If this is the best argument the bigots in Japan can muster, then Japan’s imminent transition to an international, multicultural society will go smoother than expected.

    Arudou Debito
    Japanese citizen and full member of “our society”
    Miyazaki, Kyushu
    February 16, 2007
    ENDS

    =======================================

    ADDENDUM FEB 20, 2007

    Just got this from a friend. Seems like migration of labor is causing some problems with “foreign crime” in China too. So much for GAIJIN HANZAI’S speculation that Chinese somehow have more criminal tendencies. Anyway, FYI. Debito in Sapporo

    South China Morning Post
    Thursday, February 15, 2007
    Crime-plagued Guangzhou considers foreigner database
    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Beijing

    Updated at 11.47am:
    Legislators in crime-ridden Guangzhou wanted to set up an information
    database to track the activities of foreigners blamed for some of the
    lawlessness, state media said on Thursday.

    The proposal by 13 legislators was based on data showing a 40 per cent
    increase in illegal activities by foreigners in the southern city in
    2001-05, the China Daily reported.

    “[Foreigners] without legal permission to live and do business in
    Guangdong, and especially those who commit crimes, pose a great threat
    to the province’s social security,” Yan Xiangrong, a deputy in the
    Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress, told the paper.

    The scheme would involve “all related governmental organisations,
    including departments of foreign affairs, public security, health,
    labour and social security, industry and commercial and civil affairs”,
    Mr Yan said.

    No other details on the plan, which was put to the Congress last week,
    were given.

    Guangzhou is plagued by purse-snatching motorcycle gangs and other crime
    linked to its spectacular export-fuelled boom.

    The crime is typically blamed on the more than three million migrant
    workers drawn to the booming city but a rising number of foreigners also
    have set up residence or businesses in the province.

    There were 40,000 foreigners living in the province, most of them in
    Guangzhou, the paper said.

    Recent cases involving foreigners have included smuggling and
    drug-trafficking offences, it added.

    Last month, Guangzhou announced it would more than triple the number of
    surveillance cameras around the city to 340,000 to help stem the crime.
    ENDS

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 13 Comments »

    GAIJIN HANZAI mag endgame: “out of stock”

    Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Just a quick update. I’ve just come out of my last speech in Japanese this trip (I wanted the information to be fresh, so I left it until last night to get to it, and wound up working on my Powerpoint presentation in Japanese until 2:30 this morning), and have spent some time this afternoon unwinding along the rather pretty white beaches of Shirahama-Cho (hence the name), in Wakayama. Rich resort area, don’t see myself getting down here on my own dime anytime soon…

    Anyhow, I was part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Buraku Liberation League on what the local governments can do to secure the rights of foreigners. Of course I had a lot to say (you can see the Powerpoint presentation in Japanese at http://www.debito.org/jinkenkeihatsushuukai020907.ppt) and wound up speaking a bit longer than my allotted 30 minutes (visuals invite stories and anecdotes, after all). Went very well.

    One of the reasons it went so well was because of you bloggers. I want to thank you all for keeping us updated in the comments sections, with your letters to and from sellers and publishers. I was able to cite them in real time (the conference room had internet access, and as other people also suffered from logorhhea, I was able to read back mail, prune spam, and cut and paste your data onto projectable flips). When closing comments came up, I projected the letter from mag publisher Eichi Shuppan (thanks Simon) saying that they are no longer selling the magazine, and would be recalling it from stores. (http://www.debito.org/?p=215#comment-1147) Even Eichi’s website confirms that it’s “sold out”.

    Sure enough, I have stopped by every convenience store I’ve come across on this trip (there are two FamilyMarts here in Shirahama alone), and the book is not in stock. Haven’t found it since I left Hokkaido. Other comments from you bloggers (see related blog entries) say that there are some stray issues floating around, but that other sellers are giving answers to your letters that are proactive and cooperative. Amazon remains the lone holdout (I have a feeling they would sell asbestos if it wasn’t illegal), but that shouldn’t matter as long as Eichi is suspending sales. Bravo, everybody. Well done.

    One issue raised in our panel discussion today was whether boycotts are effective or the right course of action. I of course argued in the affirmative. Clearly, according to publisher Mr Sata, the creators of this trash did not expect us to be able to read it, and Sata was forced to fall back on the basic typical intellectual chauvinism of “our language, our rules” to demean and exclude “foreign comment” or feeling from the nationwide debate he apparently so highly prizes. What he didn’t count on was that non-Japanese residents, as customers, have the power of the pocketbook.

    This is where a boycott comes in. If we don’t do something, anything, especially through our fundamental (and basically only) inviolable right in Japan to choose as customers where to spend our money, we as international residents are going to be walked all over again and again because the perception (held even by many within our ranks) that we are guests or we simply don’t count. Wrong. And we proved that conclusively in less than two weeks.

    Given that this magazine cost probably a quarter-million dollars US to produce, I have the feeling somebody really took a bath on this issue. Should think they’ll think twice before publishing hateful crap like this again.

    Somosomo, we aren’t going to make ourselves count if we don’t stand up for ourselves. We did, admirably. I want to thank James at JAPAN PROBE for spearheading this movement, and Steve for making it so easy for us to get the information promptly and right before I started travelling. Everywhere I have shown this magazine there have been gasps of disgust. And that’s the Japanese audiences. Good. That’s how it should be.

    Treat yourselves to a nice dinner tonight, everyone. You’ve earned it.

    Arudou Debito in Shirahama, Wakayama-ken

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 6 Comments »

    Japan Probe: GAIJIN HANZAI publisher Saka responds

    Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2007

    Briefly:

    JAPAN PROBE reports the overseas press is calling the publisher of GAIJIN HANZAI Mook, and cracks are starting to show in the logic:

    http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1109

    Very good excerpts from two news media:

    ==============================

    Bloomberg has published a story on the Foreigner Crime File, in which they mention Debito and Japan Probe:

    Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — FamilyMart Co., Japan’s third-largest convenience store chain, yesterday pulled a magazine on crimes committed by foreigners from store shelves, citing the publication’s “inappropriate racial expressions.’’
    FamilyMart withdrew copies of “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu,’’ or “Secret Foreigner Crime Files,’’ after receiving at least 10 complaints from customers since Feb. 3, Takehiko Kigure, a spokesman for Tokyo-based FamilyMart Co., said in a telephone interview yesterday. About 1000 copies of the magazine, which costs 690 yen ($5.74), were sold.

    “We decided to remove it from our shelves because inappropriate racial expressions were found in the magazine,’’ Kigure said. The company removed the book from 7,500 stores in Japan yesterday.

    […]

    Secret Foreigner Crime Files featured widely in Japanese blogs and other Internet forums after it appeared on FamilyMart’s shelves.

    Debito Arudou, a naturalized Japanese citizen and author of “Japanese Only,’’ posted a bilingual letter for readers to take to FamilyMart stores protesting against “discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.’’

    ====================

    Another blog, Japan Probe, asked readers to check that FamilyMart is complying with its pledge to remove the publication.

    The Spanish Media has also picked up on the story, and they have published an interview with the publisher of the magazine. Here is an English translation by Julián Ortega Martínez:

    ====================

    Publishing date: 7/2/2007 14:11:16
    Magazine [editorial] director: “I feel I am in danger”
    Shigeki Saka, director of a xenophobic magazine, receives a wave of complaints and threatening mails. Interview.
    Tokyo – IPCJAPAN/Shiho Kohinata

    Shigeki Saka, Eichi Shuppan’s editorial director, which published Gaijin Hanzai Ura File, a magazine accused of being xenophobic and racist, told ipcdigital.com he was conscious the magazine could arise criticism from foreigners, but he claims his intention was to lead Japanese people to discuss the increase of crimes by foreigners and the country’s internationalization.

    He denied the magazine has any xenophobic sentences, claimed he’s not a racist and refused to apologize. During the dialogue with ipcdigital.com he received threatening e-mails whose content he did not want to disclose.

    ipcdigital.com: What is your opinion on the reaction of the public about your magazine?

    Shigeki Saka: I don’t understand it yet well. There are a lot of questions from foreign press [outlets] as Reuters or Bloomberg. I know there are a lot of complaints. But that depends on how you receive this stuff. In principle it is a magazine written in Japanese and sold in Japan. Then, it’s for Japanese people to read it. Besides, on the magazine there are not any discriminatory claims, though I imagine that foreigners who are always discriminated are a little bit more sensitive.

    ipcdigital.com: What did you wanted with the approach given to the magazine?

    SS: Currently Japan is facing a lot of offences starred by foreigners. There must be a why. I wanted to find that “why”. I can’t act as if nothing was actually happening. Today there are some Japanese afraid of foreigners and I wanted to survey these people’s psychology. I want you to read the magazine. You’ll see.

    ipcdigital.com: And what have you discovered so far?

    SS: Foreigners’ crimes in Japan have a profile which changes depending on the country and this is what I also wanted to know. For example, about Chinese and Koreans. Japan welcomes them as kenshusei and that system is officially intended to they to learn Japanese working techniques and that they take them back to their countries. But it happens that they are put to work as common employees, but with low salaries and some of them cause minor offences. The kenshushei system is the problem that has been generated by Japan. It is a problem from here.

    ipcdigital.com: What are you based on to give an opinion about the crimes?

    SS: We have spoken with Japanese police in order to write each article. For them this issue is serious and they have provided the data. I have also spoken with Japanese specialists, as university professors devoted to this issue. This magazine is a summary of these data and focused on the foreigners’ issue.

    ipcdigital.com: Don’t you think the way the photographs are used is tendentious?

    SS: If you read the magazine you will understand it. Maybe foreigners can’t read the articles in there and they only see the pictures of the discriminated. The magazine has a lot more than photographs, which is 1/4 of the total. I wanted the magazine to be read by a lot of people, so many people bought it we put shocking pictures, to call everyone’s attentiona. But I don’t want they think it’s a discriminating magazine only because of the pictures. Besides, I’m not a racist. In Japan there are a lot of contradictions and, in order to have a coexistence between different cultures we have to erase those contradictions. To solve those contradictions is one of the goals of this magazine.

    ipcdigital.com: How did you get the photographs you published?

    SS: There is a very special photographer. He walks the commercial districts as Roppongi, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Shibuya. He’s around the city all day. He’s a freelancer. I did not ask him to take pictures of the foreigners, but he offered the ones he had to us. In the city there are a lot of foreigners, but he doesn’t go only after them.

    ipcdigital.com: What do you think about Familymart’s withdrawal of the magazine?

    SS: I’m sad about that. We can’t say anything else about the withdrawal of the magazine at the combini because Familymart has not communicated anything yet, they withdrew it without asking us. Normally distributors are more powerful. We can’t do anything, but I think that withdrawing it is a way to reject the debate. The magazine raises an issue to discuss. Why there are so many crimes by foreigners? What can we do? Without a magazine of that kind we can’t know the positive or negative opinion from the people. I want a discussion and I want to find the way to solve this problem. This is my other objective. But I see that the foreigners who are angry, but that’s because they’re afraid to be discriminated, that’s why they overreact. At the internet blogs I see they’re only putting the pictures and they discuss from that, I confess I’m discouraged about that. I want a discussion. Else, we will never be able to internationalize this country

    ipcdigital.com: Will you apologize?

    SS: Look. First, I’m receiving a lot of e-mails which seem like a joke.

    ipcdigital.com: What do they say?

    SS: I can’t tell you, but I feel I’m in danger. I want opinions, but most of the ones I receive are overreactions from the foreigners. Most complaints come from foreigners. I want to know the reactions of the Japanese. I must say I’m a little worried. I know there are some people bothered but if you read the magazine, you’ll see there’s no single discriminatory phrase, so I don’t know why should I apologize.
    ================================
    EXCERPTS END

    You can see what the problem is in my full review of the magazine, available at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=214 No single discriminatory phrase? Makes me wonder if HE actually read the book.

    One more article, while I’m at it. From the South China Morning Post:

    ================================

    JAPAN: Magazine’s focus on crimes by foreigners sparks outrage
    Graphic collage of foreigners’ crimes touches on Japanese xenophobia, say rights groups

    South China Morning Post
    Wednesday, February 7, 2007
    By Julian Ryall
    http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article-eastasia.asp?parentid=63195

    A lurid “true-crime” magazine that depicts foreigners as red-eyed criminals bent on causing mayhem in Japan has been criticised by a rights group as “ignorant propaganda” which will increase intolerance towards people from other countries.

    Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes went on sale across Japan on January 31, according to Eichi Publishing, but quickly caused outrage with its garish depictions of Chinese, Koreans, Iranians and US military personnel.

    Eichi is an otherwise unremarkable publisher which also publishes mainstream magazines, including hobby and movie magazines, as well as some soft-core pornography.

    The one-off, glossy 128-page magazine, which sells for 690 yen (HK$45), includes graphic, manga-style comic strips retelling the story of the murder of a family of four by three Chinese nationals in 2003, grainy pictures of a police raid on a brothel, images of off-duty American soldiers in a street scuffle, and shots of foreigners holding hands with Japanese women under the headline, “Yellow cab real street photo”.

    One is captioned “Hey nigger! Get your f****** hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!” Another reads: “This is Japan! Go back to your own f****** country and do that!”

    “It’s disgusting,” said US-born Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese who campaigns for foreigners’ rights. “It’s fallacious, baiting, ignorant propaganda from cover to cover.

    “It focuses exclusively on the bad things that some foreigners do, but has absolutely nothing about crimes committed by Japanese,” he said. “Crime is not a nationality issue and they are simply equating evil crimes with evil foreigners.”

    A spokeswoman for the publisher declined to comment.

    The publication is on sale in bookshops and convenience stores throughout Japan, as well as through Amazon Japan, although Mr Arudou said the FamilyMart chain, with nearly 7,000 stores, had removed it yesterday morning.

    Mr Arudou said conservative politicians and media were edging Japanese society to the right and heightening fear of foreigners, and a magazine such as Eichi’s bordered on incitement to racial hatred and would not be tolerated in most other societies.

    One chapter of the magazine reveals the alleged tricks that foreign sex industry workers use to take advantage of drunk Japanese men – adding a dig about Korean women smelling of kimchee.

    Another article is titled “City of violent degenerate foreigners”, while a map of the world gives a “danger rating” for countries, with China top of the pile, followed by Korea and Brazil.

    “The publication feels like a sales pitch for keeping foreigners out of Japan, and that’s a campaign that the Japanese police began in 2000 when they began to get tougher on people from overseas,” Mr Arudou said. He pointed out that the magazine contained an interview with a former police officer and mugshots of suspects. “I get the impression the police have been co-operating with the publishers.”

    According to the National Police Agency, 47,865 cases involving foreigners were solved in 2005, an increase of 737 cases from the previous year. Some 21,178 foreign suspects were arrested, down 664 in the same period.

    Date Posted: 2/7/2007
    ===========================

    Still waiting for this to catch fire domestically… here’s hoping. Will cite this in my speech tomorrow to human rights groups here in Wakayama. Bests, Debito in Shirahama

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////

    UPDATE MARCH 15, 2007

    Here’s an article I tracked down this morning while doing research for an academic piece on this subject. Was on the road, missed it, sorry. From China’s PEOPLE’S DAILY. Surprisingly, the issue of how evil Chinese criminality was portrayed in the book was completely ignored in the article. Hm. Debito

    World
    Japan stores withdraw ‘foreigner crime’ book
    UPDATED: 16:55, February 06, 2007
    PEOPLE’S DAILY, CHINA

    http://english.people.com.cn/200702/06/eng20070206_347955.html

    Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart and other retailers are pulling copies of a book on “foreigner crime” from their shelves after a wave of complaints, the stores said yesterday.

    The front cover of Shocking Foreigner Crime: The Undercover File, published in Japanese, features caricatures of non-Japanese, alongside the question: “Is it all right to let foreigners devastate Japan?”

    “We are removing the book from our shelves today,” said Takehiko Kigure of FamilyMart Co’s public relations department. “We had complaints from customers, and when we checked the content of the magazine, we found that it contained some inappropriate language,” he added.

    Inside the glossy magazine-style book, photographs and illustrations show what the editors say are non-Japanese engaged in criminal or reprehensible behaviour.

    “We wanted to take this up as a contemporary problem,” said Shigeki Saka of Tokyo-based publishers Eichi, which also publishes magazines on popular US and South Korean television dramas. “I think it would be good if this becomes a chance to broaden the debate,” he added.

    One caption in the magazine refers to a black man as “nigger”. “This is not a racist book, because it is based on established fact,” Saka said. “If we wanted to be racist, we could write it in a much more racist way,” he added, saying that the word “nigger” was not considered offensive in Japan.

    Details of well-known past crimes committed by foreigners are also given, such as last year’s kidnapping of the daughter of a wealthy plastic surgeon by a foreign group.

    Source: China Daily/Agencies
    ENDS

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 14 Comments »

    Review of GAIJIN HANZAI Mag: what’s wrong with it?

    Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Had some time in train transit between Kashihara and Kyoto, so I decided to take care of some outstanding business:

    GAIJIN HANZAI URA FAIRU 2007
    WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE BOOK?
    A VERY QUICK REVIEW
    By Arudou Debito, Hirakata, Japan

    To deflect the cultural relativists and naybobs who make a sport of poking holes in any argument or social movement, it’s probably a good idea to give a review of the “GAIJIN HANZAI UNDERGROUND FILES” publication. and why it’s symptomatic of so much of what is wrong about a media which has insufficient safeguards against hate speech and defamation of ethnic groups.

    (And for those who haven’t seen the mook, here’s the whole thing, scanned, and available for free:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultraneo/sets/72157594531953574/)

    The review is organized thusly:
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    COVER
    OPENING SECTION
    FURTHER SECTIONS
    WHY THIS BOOK IS MYSTERIOUS
    WHY THIS BOOK IS SYMPTOMATIC
    THE REACTIONS

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    LET’S START WITH THE COVER

    gaijinhanzaifile2007.jpg

    The first impression is one which hardly needs explanation. Crazed faces of killers putting bullet holes in the cover, with classic ethnic profiles (center stage is what appears to be a slitty-eyed member of the Chinese Mafia), with a Jihadist, generic white and black people, and caricatures of both N and S Korean leadership in the very back–all coming to get you, the reader. Along with a listing of the countries covered inside (complete with flags), it advertises interviews with the National Police Agency (NPA–who will be “thoroughly” chasing down “gaijin crime”) and ex-cop and “crime expert” Kitashiba Ken (who is quoted as saying that “everyone will become a target of ‘gaijin crime’ in 2007″).

    The take-home message at the bottom: “SHOULD WE LET THE GAIJIN LAY WASTE (juurin) TO JAPAN?”. As if “gaijin crime” is the main element of crime in Japan (it is not), and alarm towards hordes of gaijin is warranted.

    Of course, the use of the word gaijin (a housou kinshi kotoba, or word not permitted for broadcast in the media) already shapes the debate. Whenever official stats are quoted within, they use the official word for it–“gaikokujin hanzai”. But whenever there is any analysis, “gaijin” becomes the rhetorical currency. Conclusion: From the start, there is no attempt to strike a balance or avoid targeting, alarmism, or sensationalism. The rest of the book will bear this out.

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    OPENING SECTION: GLOSSIES OF BLOOD AND VIOLENCE ORGANIZED BY NATIONALITY

    This is no exaggeration. The very first page asks the questions in the “Why do you beat your wife?” genre: “Why is gaijin crime frightening? Why is it rising? Why is it happening?…” with a collared gaijin splayed out on the sidewalk by police with the headline in blood-red, “GOKUAKU GAIJIN” (evil foreigner). “WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!” reads the final departing thought.

    The next pages develop their case for Tokyo as a “Lawless Zone” (fuhou chitai, or “dangerous zone” in katakana, just in case you missed the point), listing up the obviously anarchic areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Roppongi. Often categorized by country (China, South Korea, Iran, Brazil, Philippines, black people…) and crime (stabbing, smuggling, kidnapping, attempted murder, assault, petty theft, gangland whacks, youth gangs…), it liberally interprets the scenes in an unfavorable light: A stabbing of an exchange students is questioned as a “battle between Chinese groups?”, a person found unconscious in the bar district of Roppongi, receiving medical attention from officials while gaijin and Japanese rubberneck, is interpreted as “the surrounding gaijin look as though they have no concern whatsoever”. After all, Roppongi is apparently “a city without nationality” (mukokuseki toshi–as opposed to, say, more accurately, “multicultural”?) where, as the article portrays, only the fittest survive.

    One would get the impression from reading all this that the Yakuza don’t exist in Japan, and that they also do not have a long history of committing the same crimes in the same areas (if you doubt that, take a crime tour of Kabukichou with friend Mark S, who has been here for as long as I’ve been alive and has written books on Japanese crime). Ah, but you see, that would fall outside the purview of this book. This is about *FOREIGN* crime, after all. So no need to ground this in any context or give comparative statistics at any time with Japanese crime… (They don’t, in case you were wondering.)

    Bonus points for the editorial tendency throughout the magazine to mosaic-over Japanese faces to mask their identity, but leave the gaijin faces intact. Gaijin are, after all, not entitled to the same rights of privacy in our country. Photo credits, by the way, are given to what looks to be a Chinese name. He must be everywhere at once, or at least as patient as Ansel Adams…

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    FURTHER SECTIONS

    give us profiles and motivations of perps based upon nationality (since naturally, their premise is that crime is committed by nationalities, not individuals).

    We have an interview with an Instructor at Nihon University School of International Relations named O-izumi Youichi (who shares his insights into the general gaijin criminal mind through his studies of criminality in Spain), included to demonstrate that Japanese police and soft Japanese society don’t have the mettle to deal with more hardened foreign criminals.

    A section depicting China as a breeding ground for hardened criminality (and South Korea as the same but bolstered by an extra booster of hatred for Japan). A more sympathetic section about Nikkei Brazilians (who given their hardships overseas would understandably want to re-emigrate back to the homeland–pity they’re corrupted by foreign criminality).

    Something on the US military, whose crimes are “too small” (bag snatching, shoplifting, petty theft, bilking taxi drivers…) yet still cast doubt on their real ability to “keep peace in the Far East”. Something on foreign laborers in general (now 700,000 souls), with some background on their situation, but with a focus more on the apparent social damage than on their possible benefit to Japan (such as making Toyota the world’s number two automaker, for example).

    Finally, the NPA are selectively quoted to make the case, naturally, that they are understaffed and need more money (which is quite possibly one major motivation for cooperating with this publication in the first place).

    The bulk of the remainder of this book is devoted to developing stories beyond the visual, and into the graphic storytelling. Written by the same small number of authors (who demonstrate a clear voyeuristic tendency found in people with an extraordinary taste for the macabre), the next section leads off with a Top Ten of Foreign Crime Cases (subtitled in English, “ALIEN CRIMINAL WORST 10″–Chilean Anita, who landed her J husband in jail in Aomori for 13 years on corruption charges, is merely Number 4), and each gets a full page. The majority are murders.

    Naturally, North Korea then gets its due, over six pages, where they make the case that “FOR THE DPRK, CRIME IS BUSINESS”. Then it finishes off with a lovely screed about how Japanese criminals may be taking refuge in the cruelty of foreign crime. As if foreigners are raising the bar.

    ============================

    But the coup de grace surely belongs to a six-page manga recreating the 2003 murders of a Fukuoka family suspected of being rich by Chinese “exchange students”. After they break into the premises, they drown the wife (who is a state of undress and drawn titillatingly), then smile (and say, “Good, that’s put paid to one”) and strangle her nearby sleeping child. Then the father returns home and finds the Chinese threatening to knife his other daughter in the genkan, then strangles her in front of him. Then, when the father is unable to produce the riches they killed everyone for, he gets strangled by two Chinese pulling a rope between them taut (one puts his foot on his head for leverage). How these actions, conversations and thoughts were recreated when there were no witnesses is unclear. Finally, they are dumped in a Fukuoka harbor, weighed down with weights.

    Pretty nasty stuff. But the jewel in the manga’s crown is the final caption: “Nihonjin ni wa kangaerarenai kono rifujinsa. koumo kantan ni hito ga korosareru no wa chuugokujin da kara na no ka?” “The unreasonable of this is unthinkable to Japanese. Does killing come so easily because these people are Chinese?” I guess thiis assumes that killings of this sort don’t happen between Japanese. History begs to differ.

    (Then again, the editors have that base covered–if heinous crimes of this ilk occur, they are inspired by or encouraged by gaijin all over again, according to that previous essay about raising the bar. Wareware nipponjin can do no similar wrong, right?)

    ============================

    Then we get into crime profiles of wanted criminals–two pages of gaijin killers, thieves, drug runners, smugglers, etc. All with photos, ages, body measurements, descriptions for the crimes, and phone numbers of the local police stations in charge. Like TV show America’s Most Wanted.

    Two more manga follow–one with the botched kidnapping last June of a rich plastic surgeon’s daughter by two Chinese and one Japanese (only the Japanese perp is drawn with “normal” non-slitty eyes, of course). Of course, the narration only allows us to hear what goes on inside the Japanese’s head, and how he was a rather hesitant accomplice (even though at the end he’s the one with the gun to the kidnapped girl’s head, and who pulls the trigger on a jammed gun).

    The other manga is about a Chinese “research” laborer working on a pig farm, and this time, for a change, we hear about the plight of the worker being exploited by nasty Japanese bosses (who are drawn like the pigs the Chinese keeps feeding at all hours of the day). It’s the most sympathetic story in the book, but the Chinese still ends up knifing his bosses. It’s an oasis with some sympathy, if anything.

    But in between them is an interview with an ex-cop, Kitashiba Ken, famous for his pronouncements about law enforcement in Japan. His points (in headline): Stop illegals, Understand that “the age of internationalization” also means “the age of internationalized crime”, and that this spring there will be “an unimaginable planned organized event”–a Tet Offensive of foreign criminality, if you will?

    There is another article speculating on whether Japanese society is creating foreign crime, another on crime by foreign cults (like Asahara’s, perchance?), more pages on smuggling, another on the CIA’s involvement in all this, another on foreign prostitution (focussing on the supply, not the demand, naturally), underground hospitals dealing with foreign abortions…

    ============================

    But then we go off the scale with the most famous pages iin the book–showing gaijin and Japanese women engaging in public displays of affection and heavy petting on the street. The headlines are full of vitriol: “OI, N*****R, GET YOUR HAND OFF THAT J GIRL’S ASS!!”, “YOU B*TCH*S THINK GAIJIN ARE THAT GREAT?!!” (with subtitles about comparative size and hardness), “HEY HEY HEY, NONE OF THAT T*T RUBBING ON THE STREET!!”, and, of course, the prize-winner: “HEY HEY HEY, GET YOUR HAND OUT OF THAT GIRL’S P***Y IN PUBLIC!”

    The problem here is that, given that this is all apparently consensual, none of this qualifies as a crime. It’s just an eyesore to the editors who wish they could switch places.

    Next up (superimposed over a photo of a naked woman’s backside) is a story about prostitution servicing US servicemen. Then another bit on foreign copyright violators (as if Japanese industry doesn’t have a long history of engaging in widespread copying and innovation of foreign goods). And then a long section on the foreigner sex industry in Japan (again, focussing on supply, not demand). In the interest of full disclosure, the magazine provides great detail on how to deal with foreign hookers, particularly how to procure them (even market prices). And a Q&A section on “Delivery Health” Korean pros, including speculation on how their nether regions smell.

    The book closes with a calendar of crime–187 cases over 2006 organized by month stretched over 12 pages. (Good thing they didn’t include Japanese crimes, since that would have made the book a lot thicker!) And a back page that says that “Gaijin Crime in Japan–47,000 cases per year. (Again, good thing they didn’t include Japanese crime…), with a world map surrounded by guns, knives, syringes, and skull-and-crossbones danger ratings for 14 countries that are “targeting Japan” (and, not mentioned, giving the overwhelming majority of domestic criminal elements some competition…)

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    WHY THIS BOOK IS MYSTERIOUS

    1) It is unclear who published it, and how it got so much shelf space in national chains. The name given, “Joey H. Washington”, is clearly a pseudonym, and books by law are apparently not allowed to be published anonymously like this. But in this current media culture, where outlets like 2-Channel can say whatever they like to a huge audience (even if it’s not true and it maliciously hurts people) with impunity.

    2) There is no advertising whatsoever in the magazine. This is extremely odd because the book is printed often in full color on very fine quality paper, and runs for 130 pages. A friend who worked in the trade estimated this would run about a quarter-million dollars US for a nationwide press run. Yet it sells for 657 yen–a steal. Who is behind this? Smells like a rich and powerful patron…

    3) They editors apparently thought nobody would notice. Foreigners, particularly those most often targeted for exposure, don’t read Japanese, of course. Wrong. And that’s why the reaction has been so interesting overseas. More on that in a sec.

    4) This book is very well researched. The photos are incredible. It’s hard to believe that this came about without police cooperation. In fact, I don’t believe it. There is information in it that only the police are generally privy to (such as passport photos of suspects)! Another great method for the police to increase budgetary outlay–by inspiring fear in the public…?

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    WHY THIS BOOK IS SYMPTOMATIC

    Because it falls into the old fallacies that “we Japanese” rubric and faulty Japanese social science has for generations promoted. Attributing behavior to nationality, as if Chinese kill because they are Chinese (cf Gov. Ishihara’s Ethnic DNA speech to explain Chinese Crime). As if foreigners lead the way into harder crime (hardly). As if foreigners and Japanese are innately different (if foreigners are criminals, logically Japanese must not be–after all, who needs proper comparison?). And those aberrant exceptions are the results of foreign influences, not possibly sui generis…

    It is a distressing tendency, not the least because it falls into a very common pattern in Japan of avoiding responsibility, and pinning the blame for your own problems (such as the general upward trend in domestic crime) on other people.

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    THE REACTION

    has been one of general revulsion all around. Blog Japan Probe led the charge for a boycott of the sellers of this mag, and some, particularly FamilyMart, have quickly decided to withdraw it from their stands (although several friends nationwide report that it is still on the shelves). Amazon.com defends the sale of the book with pat slogans of freedom of speech. The issue and developments have made AFAIK the Times London, the Guardian, IHT/Asahi, Bloomberg, Metropolis, and dozens of major blogs on Japan in the Blogosphere. I have mentioned this issue in my recent speeches (even projected some scanned images), and people have said they will be on the lookout. Meanwhile, the publisher, Eichi Shuppan, has said that this book is not racist because it is “based on established fact” (never mind interpretation or invective), and that “n****r is not an offensive word in Japan” anyway (sez who?). http://www.japantoday.com/jp/quote/2077

    No doubt there will be more interesting ripples to come, particularly if the overseas press coverage boomerangs into the domestic. Let’s hope the real media watchdogs ferret out who’s really behind this and why. Meanwhile, I offer this quick review of the publication as a primer to those who cannot procure the book or read it. In haste, so sorry for any errors.

    Arudou Debito
    Hirakata, Japan
    February 8, 2007
    debito@debito.org
    http://www.debito.org

    REFERENTIAL LINK:
    HOW THE JAPANESE POLICE AND POLICYMAKERS DISTORT FOREIGN CRIME

    http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html
    ENDS

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    GAIJIN HANZAI off shelves, apologies begin

    Posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

    Hi Blog.  Writing remotely, and have a speech to 350 people (not on this, but I might find a way to squeeze it in) coming up in a few hours, so I`ll be brief:

    Looking at the crop of comments this morning (thanks very much for that–I had no internet access last night, so apologies for the delay in approving them), people forwarded us letters from retailers like Family Mart offering apologies and stating they would be pulling GAIJIN HANZAI from the shelves.  Well and good. 

    (I’m not used to this computer, and don’t have time to figure out how to copy and paste links, so please tool around the comments sections of the GAIJIN HANZAI posts and find them? Some here: http://www.debito.org/?p=205#comments”>http://www.debito.org/?p=205#comments)

    Also, overseas press, according to JAPAN PROBE (http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1095), have also been reporting on the situation, and Eichi Shuppan publishers have been quoted as saying that “nigger is not an offensive word in Japan”.  Kinda like the word “gaijin”, huh?

    Lastly, I finally found time last night on the plane and train to give GAIJIN HANZAI a good going-over. My initial reactions are that the magazine, despite a few sections where the authors are trying to show gaijin in a somewhat favorable light, this becomes faux given the invective.  Examples:

    After showing the murders of the Fukuoka family by Chinese thieves, they conclude by saying, “Did they do this because they are Chinese?”  (No, they did this because they were murderous individuals.)  They also depict one of the killers as laughing and saying, after murdering the wife in the shower in a titillatingly-drawn scene, “That’s put paid to one of them.”  (What possible evidence could there be that he actually said that?)

    In the photos of the crime scenes, all the Japanese faces are covered up.  The foreigners faces are rarely covered up.  One scene in Roppongi shows the authorities helping a downed person on the street.  The caption reads, “And the foreigners seem to show diffidence”, deliberately not covering up their faces to show how carefree they are in this “lawless zone”.  That’s completely unwarranted attribution.

    Finally, I’m amazed at how good the photos are of the crime scenes.  The magazine even has a passport photo of a suspect.  These things should be hard to get.  I’m beginning to wonder whether they had any police cooperation in the production of this magazine. They have an interview with an ex-cop…

    Anyway, I said I’d keep this brief. Gotta clear my head for the speech, so I’ll hopefully write a more detailed analysis of the magazine later, if this topic isn’t passe by then.

    Arudou Debito
    Kashihara

    UPDATE EVE FEB 6 9PMJust got back from speech:  More attended than expected (about 380), sold ten books and two t-shirts.  Lovely enkai afterwards.  A bit tipsy, so excuse candor.Got calls from two reporters (South China Morning Post, for one) regarding the GAIJIN HANZAI mag before the speech.  Should be 500 words somewhere, keep an eye out.

    Managed to copy four pages from the mag (hadn’t time to scan it in Hokkaido.  Friend took digital photos) and project it up for the audience today.  Lots of shockwaves.  Summary thoughts pointed out FYI:

    1) THERE IS NO ADVERTISING IN THE MAGAZINE.  Given the fact that this is a very high-quality publication selling for the very reasonable price of 657 yen, it is very clear that these people have some very rich patrons financing them.

    2) IT FEELS TO SOME OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS PEOPLE THAT THERE IS SOME OFFICIALDOM INVOLVED BEHIND THIS.  They have seen the likes of this before.

    3) PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA.  Curiouser and curiouser.

    PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA.  Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.

    PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA.  Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.Anyway, next stop Kyoto tomorrow.  Then Shiga the next day.  Keep us posted, everyone.  Thanks.  Debito in Kashihara

    ====================

    UPDATE FEB 7 FROM HIRAKATA, KANSAI

    Finally back online after two days in the wilderness, sorry. Just found out that the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Evening News had a brief blurb from the Reuters Wire (page 3, Feb 6) saying that FamilyMart is removing the books from its shelves.

    Meanwhile, I stop by every convenience store I see. Haven’t seen the mag yet in the Kansai. Good. Debito in Hirakata

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    GAIJIN HANZAI Mag publisher “Joey Washington” a penname, not allowed

    Posted on Monday, February 5th, 2007

    Hi Blog. According to a friend, whenever you publish something in Japan, you must put down the publisher’s name. On the GAIJIN HANZAI Mag, it is listed as “Joey H. Washington”, which is clearly a pseudonym, given the information below.

    This is apparently not permitted under Japanese publishing laws. I’m in transit down south, and don’t have time to do research on this at the moment (so I’ll throw it out to the blogosphere for somebody else). Anyone want to do some research on the laws or the people involved here?

    Information from a friend follows. Debito

    ============================
    I’m given to understand that ISBN registration requires use of real
    names, and “Joey H. Washington” does not appear on the Mook’s registration,
    which is as follows.

    http://www.isbn-center.jp/cgi-bin/isbndb/isbn.cgi

    Notice publisher number at top is 7542.

    ISBN of the mook is 9784754256180.

    This parses as 978-4-7542-56180.

    978 is general classification for book.

    4 means Japan.

    7542 is Eichi code.

    56180 is the specific ISBN the published has assigned for the book for a list of purchased valid numbers.

    Company website has more information on company.

    http://www.eichi.co.jp/information/outline.html

    代表取締役社長 is 上野文明.

    Someone should telephone to 03-6419-2750 (or number given in magazine) and ask to speak to the person named in the mook as its publisher — or to Ueno if that doesn’t get the response you want.

    ENDS

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    The Times (London) Weblog on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag Issue

    Posted on Monday, February 5th, 2007

    Hi Blog. GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine issue now in another British publication: The Times London. Have a look. Thanks to Mr Parry. Debito

    You’re not big, you’re not clever
    By Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times Online Weblog
    February 04, 2007
    http://timesonline.typepad.com/times_tokyo_weblog/2007/02/ill_keep_this_b.html
    (REPORTER BIO: Richard Lloyd Parry is the Asia Editor for The Times and has lived in Japan since 1995. He is also Foreign correspondent of the year.)

    I’ll keep this brief because the tale is recounted in detail on other blogs – but there is an illuminating flap in progress over a magazine which appeared a few days ago in Japanese convenience stores. It is entitled Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (‘Foreigners Underground Crime File’). I don’t yet have a copy myself, but a number of pages are scanned in at the pages indicated below. From these it is clear that it is a work of scrabrous racism of a kind which, in the west, you would not find outside the publications of the dedicated ultra-right. But this magazine was on sale in Family Mart, a chain convenience store with branches every few hundred years across Japan.

    The magazine (or mook – Japanese for a hybrid of a magazine and a book) gives explicit expression to a notion which peeps between the lines of a lot of crime reporting – that crime in Japan is simply and straighforwardly the fault of foreigners. Not Caucasians or Europeans/North Americans (one and the same in this kind of thinking), but Africans, South Americans, South Asians and people of the Middle East.

    There is an article about the state of Tokyo entitled:

    City of violent, degenerate foreigners!

    Another piece is headlined:

    Catch the Iranian!

    But the giveaway is a series of photographs, sneakily shot with a telephoto lens, of Japanese women canoodling with gaijin men (reminiscent of those old Ku Klux Klan publications showing pictures of mixed race couples guilty of “miscegenation”.)

    Profanity and racist invective follow.

    You sluts really think foreign guys are so great, huh!!

    and

    Oi Nigger!! Get your fuckin’ hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!!

    and

    This is Japan! Go back to your own fuckin’ country and do that!

    And then the clincher:

    We know Japanese guys are small, but . . .

    Oh no. How sad. How disappointingly obvious. There was I, hoping to identify a complicated racial paradigm shift, or a radical rippling of the zeitgeist (or at the least a dangerous breach in the space-time continuum). But it turns out to be all about a little bloke somewhere who, in the words of Lily Allen, is “small in the game” . . .

    A Google Blog Search for Gaijin Hanzai Ura File or Gaijin Hanzai Ura File or 外人犯罪裏ファイル will lead you to the latest webchat. The most comprehensive blogging on the subject so far is by that tireless campaigner for gaijin rights, Arudou Debito. He’s updating with new posts, so start from the top of the page, but the original post, including images from the mook, is here. The later posts contain the text of a letter to Family Mart (which ahs outlets in the US) demanding the removal of the offensive publication. Apparently they have agreed to do so within a week – which doesn’t strike me as particularly prompt or effective action.

    If you want to buy it for yourself, it’s here on Japanese Amazon.

    Posted by Richard Lloyd Parry on February 04, 2007 at 11:06 PM |
    ENDS

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    Guardian UK on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag

    Posted on Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

    Hi Blog. Fruition. Debito

    =====================================

    Magazine plays to Japanese xenophobia

    Available in mainstream bookstores, magazine targets Iranians, Chinese, Koreans and US servicemen

    Justin McCurry in Tokyo

    Friday February 2, 2007

    Guardian Unlimited (UK) newspaper online

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2004645,00.html

    PHOTO:Human rights activists say the magazine is indicative of the climate of fear of foreigners created by conservative newspapers and politicians

    The recent release of a glossy magazine devoted to the foreign-led crime wave supposedly gripping Japan has raised fears of a backlash against the country’s foreign community, just as experts are calling for a relaxation of immigration laws to counter rapid population decline.

    Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes, published by Eichi, contains more than 100 pages of photographs, animation and articles that, if taken at face value, would make most people think twice about venturing out into the mean streets of Tokyo.

    The magazine, which is available in mainstream bookstores and from Amazon Japan, makes liberal use of racial epithets and provocative headlines directed mainly at favourite targets of Japanese xenophobes: Iranians, Chinese, Koreans and US servicemen.

    Human rights activists said the magazine was indicative of the climate of fear of foreigners created by conservative newspapers and politicians, notably the governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara.

    “It goes beyond being puerile and into the realm of encouraging hatred of foreigners,” Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen, told the Guardian. “The fact that this is available in major bookstores is a definite cause of concern. It would be tantamount to hate speech in some societies.”

    One section is devoted to the alleged tricks foreign-run brothels use to fleece inebriated Japanese salarymen, while another features a comic strip retelling, in graphic detail, the murders of four members of a Japanese family by three Chinese men in 2003.

    An “Alien Criminal Worst 10″ lists notorious crimes involving foreigners from recent years, including the case of Anita Alvarado, the “Chilean geisha” blamed by some for forcing her bureaucrat husband, Yuji Chida, to embezzle an estimated 800m yen from a local government. Mr Chida, who is Japanese, is serving a 13-year prison sentence.

    The magazine’s writers are equally disturbed by the apparent success foreign men have with Japanese women: hence a double-page spread of long-lens photographs of multinational couples in mildly compromising, but apparently consensual, positions.

    Mr Arudou accused the mainstream press of exploiting the supposed rise in foreign crime by failing to challenge official police figures. Although the actual number of crimes has risen, he said, so has the size of the foreign population.

    “The portrayal [of foreign criminals] is not one of a neutral tone,” he said. “They don’t put any of the statistics into perspective and they don’t report drops in certain crimes.”

    The magazine’s publication coincides with warnings more foreigners should be encouraged to live and work in Japan to counter the economic effects of population decline and the greying society.

    The current population of 127 million is expected to drop to below 100 million by 2050, when more than a third of Japanese will be aged over 64.

    “I think we are entering an age of revolutionary change,” Hidenori Sakanaka, director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute and an advocate of greater immigration, said in a recent interview.

    “Our views on how the nation should be and our views on foreigners need to change in order to maintain our society.”

    ENDS

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    Family Mart replies: GAIJIN HANZAI off shelves “within 7 days”

    Posted on Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

    Just got this reply from a friend named Tom who wrote Family Mart management. –Debito

    Hello Debito—

    Really quick—I wrote the Family Mart folks a very polite note in Japanese asking them to reconsider stocking the Gaijin Hanzai mag—haven’t received a reply yet. Wrote Famina a similar note and got the belowmentioned reply in less than 10 hours. Glad to see that some folks in Japan are occasionally willing to listen.

    Thanks, Tom

    ======================================
    Dear Tom,

    Thank you very much for sending e-mail to our ‘info@’
    and bringing this matter to our attention.

    FamilyMart Japan will have this publication off their shelves
    within 7days.

    Once again, thank you so much for contacting us
    and will continually strive to improve the quality of our
    store to meet up to your expectation of Famima!!
    as your local community store.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know.

    Respectfully,
    Hidenari Sato
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    FAMIMA CORPORATION
    HIDENARI SATO (I¡$B%O%3%(%K(I£¡¡$B%”%`%?%g(I¡$B%R(B
    20000 Mariner Ave, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503
    Tel:310-214-1001
    Fax:310-214-7200
    e-mail:hsato@famima-usa.com
    URL:www.famima-usa.com
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ENDS

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    Blogosphere: Boycott Family Mart (for selling GAIJIN HANZAI mag)

    Posted on Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

    excerpted from Japan Probe blog–Debito
    Courtesy http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1072
    boycott.gif

    The magazine [GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES] is disgusting, and I don’t think it would be out of line to use the word racist when referring to it. We here at Japan Probe are not going to let a mainstream convenience store like Family Mart get away with selling such offensive material. We would like to call for an international boycott of FamilyMart-affiliated convenience stores.

    What exactly do we mean by “international boycott of FamilyMart-affiliated convenience stores”?

    FamilyMart has 12,000 stores worldwide, in countries including South Korea, China, Canada, and the United States. We ask that you not shop at any of these stores.

    Please write letters or e-mails to FamilyMart corporation, letting them know your displeasure with their decision to sell racist literature. [See the list below]

    Spread the word about this to everyone you know. The foreign community in Japan is very small, so we will need every person we can get. If you have friends in one of the other countries FamilyMart operates, let them know about the boycott. If you have a website or blog, please write about this and spread the news [feel free to use the above image to show your support to the boycott]. If anyone has contacts in the media, please let them know about this!

    We also support any other peaceful and legal method of getting the word out about this issue.
    What do we want from Family Mart?

    FamilyMart must issue an official apology and remove all copies of the magazine from its stores.

    FamilyMart must stop selling publications from the company responsibile for the magazine in question. [Unless the publisher issues an apology and halts sales of the book.]

    FamilyMart must make assurances that it will not sell similar racist literature in the future.

    Charitible donations by FamilyMart Co. to organizations that promote international understanding would also be desirable.
    If you’re planning to contact FamilyMart and complain, please use the following contact information:

    FamilyMart Japan
    FamilyMart Co., Ltd.
    Head office
    26-10,Higashi-Ikebukuro 4-chome,
    Toshima-ku,Tokyo 170-8404,Japan
    Telephone:(81)3-3989-6600

    Family Mart USA
    Tel: 310-214-1001
    Fax: 310-214-7200
    Email: info@famima-usa.com

    As part of this campaign, we would like to compile a list of known store locations that have sold the magazine in question. If possible, take pictures of the magazines on their display rack, so we can post them here. If you buy a copy as a reference, scan your receipt as proof that it was purchased at FamilyMart. [It’s also rumored that Daily Yamazaki convenience stores are also selling the magazine, and if we get enough reports regarding Daily Yamazaki, we will add them to the boycott.]

    List of online retailers currently selling Gaijin Hanzai Ura File

    Amazon.co.jp
    7&Y [Part of the Seven Eleven Group]
    E-hon
    Kinokuniya BookWeb
    JBook
    Boople
    Rakuten Books
    Honya Town

    boycott.gif
    more at http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1072

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    “GAIJIN HANZAI FILE” pubs spectre of evil foreign crime

    Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2007

    Hello Blog. Here’s a lovely little publication, apparently available at convenience stores, courtesy of friend Steve (who took the trouble to purchase, scan, and help publicize this issue). Entitled “GAIJIN [sic] HANZAI URA FILE”, it publicizes all the underground evils that gaijin in Japan do, including seducing our women on the street…

    Here’s a scan of the cover, with all manner of caricature which would be deemed offensive in any other developed country. And to give you an example of the hate speech within, some excerpts (Steve’s translation), and links to scanned images follow. Please excuse the language.

    gaijinhanzaifile2007.jpg

    Turning the keyboard over to Steve, as he has portrayed the goods most effectively. I’ve made sure the UN has gotten word. Debito in Sapporo

    ===================================================

    OK,OK, I caved in and my curiosity got the better of me. I’ve scanned some pages at the bottom of this email:

    Publisher: Eichi Shuppan 150-001 Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-38-4
    Publisher-in-Chief: Joey H. Washington (I wonder who this guy is?)

    Available online at
    http://www.eichi.co.jp/esp.cgi?_file=detail1709&_page2=detail&_global_cg=magazine&_global_md=entertainer&_global_dt=others&sys_id=1709&

    Here are some ‘highlights’:

    Back Page:
    日本における外人犯罪件数年間47000件!!
    47,000 crimes by foreigners each year!!
    There then follows a ‘danger rating’ (危険度) of each country, scattered on a world map surrounded by knives, guns and syringes:
    China: 14
    Russia: 5
    Korea: 9
    Brazil: 8
    Colombia: 3
    Etc.
    None for the USA, Canada, Australia or the whole of Europe…

    Article about crimes by Iranians:
    イラン人を捕まえ!!
    Catch the Iranian!!

    Article lamenting Tokyo’s demise into lawlessness:
    不良外人暴力都市!!
    City of Violent Degenerate Foreigners!!

    Article about foreigners scamming Japanese for money:
    毟られる日本人。『シャチョサン、ATMコッチデス』
    Japanese getting conned. “Theesaway to ze ATM, Meester Managing Director”

    Feature of foreign guys picking up Japanese women (What this has to do with ‘crime’ is unclear)
    YELLOW CAB REAL STREET PHOTO
    お前らそんなに外人がイイのかよ!!
    You sluts really think foreign guys are so great, huh!!
    そりゃあ日本人は小さいけど。。
    We know Japanese guys are small, but..

    Picture of black guy touching a J.girls ass in Shibuya (obviously consensual too)
    おいニガー!!日本婦女子のケツさわってんじゃねえ!!
    Oi Nigger!! Get your fuckin’ hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!!
    (… yes. It really does say ニガー)

    Picture of dark-haired foreigner kissing J.girl in Shibuya (again, obviously consensual)
    ここは日本なんだよ!てめえの国に帰ってやりな!
    This is Japan! Go back to your own fuckin’ country and do that!

    Picture of foreigner with hands down a J.girls knickers in Shibuya (definitely consensual)
    チョット、チョットチョット!路上で手マンはやめてくれる?
    Woah! Woah! Woah! Would you stop fingering a girls pussy in the street, OK?

    Links to scanned images:

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f40/mrscuzzbucket/img037.jpg

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f40/mrscuzzbucket/img036.jpg

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f40/mrscuzzbucket/img033-1.jpg

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f40/mrscuzzbucket/img034.jpg

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f40/mrscuzzbucket/img032.jpg

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f40/mrscuzzbucket/img031.jpg

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f40/mrscuzzbucket/img030.jpg
    ===================================================

    ENDS

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    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 82 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014

    Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

    eBooks, Books, and more from ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
    Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
    “LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
    http://www.facebook.com/handbookimmigrants
    https://www.facebook.com/JapaneseOnlyTheBook
    https://www.facebook.com/BookInAppropriate
    If you like what you read and discuss on Debito.org, please consider helping us stop hackers and defray maintenance costs with a little donation via my webhoster:
    Donate towards my web hosting bill!
    This money will only be used for hosting and maintenance costs. Thanks for your support!

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014

    Table of Contents:

    /////////////////////////////////////
    POSITIVE STEPS
    1) Asahi: ‘Japanese Only’ banner at soccer stadium a microcosm of discrimination in Japan (E&J)
    2) Asahi & Kyodo: Japan’s soccer leagues taking anti-discrimination courses, meting out punishments for racism
    3) Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012
    4) Counterdemos against racist rally by Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba May 11, 2014: Brief on emerging narratives fighting fire with fire

    NEGATIVE STEPS
    5) Reuters: Abe Admin seeks to expand, not contract, the deadly exploitative NJ “Trainee” program
    6) SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    STEPS OF UNKNOWN VALUE
    7) Scholar Majima Ayu on how the racial discrimination inherent in America’s Japanese Exclusion Act of 1924 caused all manner of Japanese craziness
    8 ) Economist: China to become world’s largest economy by end-2014. Will USA react to being overtaken similar to Japan?

    … and finally…

    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 75, May 1, 2014: “Tackling Japan’s ‘Empathy Deficit’ Towards Outsiders”
    /////////////////////////////////////

    By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

    /////////////////////////////////////

    POSITIVE STEPS

    1) Asahi: ‘Japanese Only’ banner at soccer stadium a microcosm of discrimination in Japan (E&J)

    Big news at the beginning of May was front-page story in the Asahi Shinbun, about Japan’s “Japanese Only” signs, with a sizable chunk of the article devoted to the research that Debito.org has done on them.

    It made a huge splash in the media. So much so that TV Asahi planned to do a segment on it on Sunday during their show『報道ステーションSUNDAY』(毎週日曜日10時~11時45分)for being one of the Asahi’s most viewed online articles of the week. Alas, the discriminatory owner of the “Japanese Only” restaurant in Asakusa refused to talk to the media, so believe it or not TV Asahi just dropped the story. Incredible how much of a lack of moral imperative there is in the Japanese media over issues of racial discrimination.

    Anyway, here’s the article from the English version of the Asahi (significantly different from how it appeared in Japanese), followed by the original Japanese. Have a read. And thank you, everyone, for reading and supporting Debito.org.

    ASAHI: A “Japanese Only” banner at a professional soccer game made international headlines and led to unprecedented penalties. But such signs are not new in Japan, and some have even appeared at tourist hotspots. It is true that some signs like these have been put up by people who genuinely dislike citizens of other countries. But many others say they had no intention to be discriminatory, and that their “Japanese Only” displays stem from the language barrier and problems with foreign customers unaware of Japanese rules and customs. Two apparent reasons why these signs keep showing up is a general sense of apathy among the public and a lack of understanding at how offensive the words can be for foreigners in Japan…

    朝日新聞: キックオフの2時間前。酒に酔った30代の男たちが、1階通路に集まっていた。3月8日午後2時すぎ、快晴の埼玉スタジアム。Jリーグ浦和レッズのサポーター集団「ウラワボーイズ・スネーク」の3人だ。本拠地開幕戦だった。縦70センチ、横2・5メートルの白い布と、スプレー缶を持ち込んでいた。コンクリートの床に敷き、黒い文字で、英語を吹き付けた。JAPANESE(ジャパニーズ) ONLY(オンリー)午後4時前。ゴール裏の観客席は、浦和のユニホームを着た熱心なサポーターで、真っ赤に染まっていた。席の出入り口に、3人はつくったばかりの横断幕を掲げた。隣には、日の丸が掲げられていた。[後略]

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12351

    /////////////////////////////////////

    2) Asahi & Kyodo: Japan’s soccer leagues taking anti-discrimination courses, meting out punishments for racism

    Good news. The Urawa Reds’ fans “Japanese Only” banner last March (which, as Debito.org reported, could have been as usual swept under the carpet of cultural relativism) has occasioned much debate (see here and here) and even proactive and remedial measures. Witness this:

    ASAHI: J.League’s players and team officials will be forced to take mandatory anti-discrimination classes as fallout from a fan’s banner that said “Japanese Only” and was not removed from a stadium during a league game in March. Officials with the Justice Ministry’s legal affairs bureaus and local volunteer human rights advocates commissioned by the agency, in agreement with the league, will visit all 51 teams in the J1, J2 and J3 divisions from June onward to give the classes. […] The class instructors will expound on what acts constitute discrimination and use specific incidents, such as when a foreigner was denied admission to a “sento” (public bath), to demonstrate discriminatory acts. They will also discuss ways to improve interactions with foreigners, sources said.”

    Well, good. I’m not going to nit-pick this well-intentioned and positive move. It’s long overdue, and Debito.org welcomes it. (Well, okay, one thing: It’s funny how the lore on our Otaru Onsens Case (i.e., the “sento” denying entry to “a foreigner”) has boiled down to one “foreigner” (which I was not, and it was more people denied than just me) going to just one sento (there were at least three with “Japanese Only” signs up at the time in Otaru). Somehow it’s still a case of “discrimination against foreigners”, which is the wrong lesson to take from this case, since the discrimination also targeted Japanese people.)

    Now witness this:
    KYODO: J3 player handed three-game ban for racist comments…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12433

    /////////////////////////////////////

    3) Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012

    Significant news: In addition to the bars, bathhouses, internet cafes, stores, restaurants, apartment rental agencies, schools, and even hospitals, etc. that have “Japanese Only” policies in Japan, the media has now publicized a longstanding case of a tertiary education institution doing the same. A place called Konsho Gakuen in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, offering instruction in cooking, nutrition, and confections, has since it opened in 1976 never accepted NJ into their student body. This exclusion was even written in their recruitment material as a “policy” (houshin): (scan)

    People knew about this. A Peruvian student denied entry complained to the authorities in 2012. But after some perfunctory scolding from Saitama Prefecture, everyone realized that nothing could be done about it. Racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan. Nobody could be penalized, and it was unclear if anyone could lose a license as an educational institution.

    So finally it hits the media. And after some defiance by the school (claiming to NHK below that they don’t want to be responsible for NJ getting jobs in Japan; how conscientious), they caved in after about a week and said that the policy would be reversed (suck on the excuses they offered the media for why they had been doing it up to now — including the standard, “we didn’t know it was wrong” and “it’s no big deal”).

    Debito.org would normally cheer for this. But the school is just taking their sign down. Whether they will actually ALLOW foreigners to join their student body is something that remains to be seen (and the J-media is remarkably untenacious when it comes to following up on stories of racial discrimination). When we see enrollments that are beyond token acceptances (or happen at all, actually) over the course of a few years, then we’ll cheer.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12416

    /////////////////////////////////////

    4) Counterdemos against racist rally by Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba May 11, 2014: Brief on emerging narratives fighting fire with fire

    For a change (compared to these videos for example here, here, and here), have a look at Japan’s xenophobic public rallies from the perspective of anti-racism protesters. This is from May 11, 2014, a counter-rally against Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba, drowning out Zaitokukai spokesman Sakurai Makoto. Good stuff: (video)

    A couple of things I’ve noticed within the emerging narratives of Japan’s xenophobic demos:

    1) The use of the word “reishisuto” (racist) both in Japanese and English, and the pat use of “sabetsu”, to get their point across. This way the narrative doesn’t split between the Newcomers and the Oldcomers, as discrimination towards these two groups is very different. But counter-demonstrator DO bear signs that say “jinshu sabetsu”, or racial discrimination. Good. Looks like the Urawa Reds fans’ “Japanese Only” banner last March finally cracked that rhetorical nut.

    2) The use of the word “shame” (haji) once again to express displeasure, but no signs saying how NJ are residents too and such deserve rights. As I’ve argued before, until we make that connection, there’s still a layer of “othering” going on here.

    3) The use of the same rough language and simple drowning out of xenophobic messages through noise and chant. Fighting fire with fire.

    4) The popularization of the “f*ck you finger” (aka “The Bird”, not in common use in Japan in my experience until now).

    Other videos of demos and counter demos are welcome in the Comments Section. No doubt there will be more. I’m just glad that people are finally and firmly speaking out against these issues.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12399

    /////////////////////////////////////

    NEGATIVE STEPS

    5) Reuters: Abe Admin seeks to expand, not contract, the deadly exploitative NJ “Trainee” program

    When Debito.org last seriously talked about the issue of Japan’s foreign “Trainees” (i.e. NJ brought over by the GOJ who are allegedly “in occupational training”, therefore not qualifying as “workers” entitled to labor law protections), it was back in July 2010, when news broke about the death of 27 of them in 2009. The news to me was that it was only the SECOND worst casualty rate on record. Even more scandalous was that about a third of the total dead NJ (as in eight) had died of, quote, “unknown causes” (as if that’s a sufficient explanation). Kyodo News back then rather ignorantly observed how problematic the “Trainee” system has been, stating that “a number of irregular practices have recently been observed, such as having foreign trainees work for long hours with below-minimum wages”. Hardly “recent” even back then: Despite years of calls to fix or abolish the program entirely, with official condemnations in 2006 of it as “a swindle”, and the UN in 2010 essentially calling it slavery (see article below), it was still causing deaths at the rate of two or three NJ a month. (The irony was that karoushi (death from overwork) was a big media event when Japanese were dying of it. Clearly less so when NJ die.)

    Now sit down for this news: The GOJ is seeking not to reform the “Trainee” system, but rather to EXPAND it. As the article indicates below, we’ve gotta get more cheap, disposable, and ultimately expendable foreigners to build our Tokyo Olympics in time for 2020. And then we can round them up once their visas expire and deport them (that is, if they’re still alive), like we did back in Nagano for the 1998 Olympics.

    This is precisely the type of exploitative capitalism that creates Marxists. But again, who in Japan empathizes with NJ workers? They’re only here to earn money and then go home, right? So they deserve to be exploited, runs the common national narrative. And under that discourse, no matter how bad it gets for them (and so far it really, really has), no amount of domestic or international condemnation will stop it.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12245

    /////////////////////////////////////

    6) SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    As noted in the Japan Today article cited below, SAPIO debate magazine (June 2014) devoted an issue specifically to the issue of immigration (imin) to Japan (what with the Abe Administration’s renewed plan to import 200,000 NJ per year). Good. But then SAPIO fumbles the issue with narratives that microaggress the NJ immigrant back into a position of being powerless and voiceless. First, let’s start with SAPIO’s cover. Notice anything funny? Look at the sub-headline in yellow talking about having a vigorous debate from “each world” (kyaku kai). Each? Look at the debaters pictured. See any Visible Minorities there? Nope, they’re left out of the debate once again. All we get are the typical powerful pundits (probably all Wajin, with “Papa Bear” Wajin Ishihara second in line). Where is the voice of the immigrant?

    And by “immigrant”, I mean people who have immigrated to Japan as NJ and made a life here as long-term resident if not actual Permanent-Resident holder. The people who have indefinite leave to remain. The “Newcomers”, who work in Japan and work for Japan. As depicted in the picture of the labor-union demonstrators in the inset photo in the top right.

    Now look at the larger photo. It’s a xenophobic public demonstration about issues between Japan and Korea (and no doubt China). That’s not a debate about immigration. It’s a hate rally airing historical grievances between Japan and it’s neighbors, gussied up as a jerry-rigged issue about “Zainichis having special privileges as NJ”. The point is that the cover does not convey the issue of “immigration in Japan” accurately. Zainichi issues dominate and suck the oxygen out of the arena.

    Lastly about this photo, note how all the Wajin demonstrators have their faces blocked out in the photo. Clearly Wajin have privacies to protect. Not so the NJ protesting in the photo inset. Hence NJ once again have fewer rights to privacy in the Japanese media. Just like this photo from the racist Gaijin Hanzai Magazine of yore (remember that?). Comparative powerlessness in visual form. Now let’s look at some arguments within the magazine itself:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12389

    /////////////////////////////////////

    STEPS OF UNKNOWN VALUE

    7) Scholar Majima Ayu on how the racial discrimination inherent in America’s Japanese Exclusion Act of 1924 caused all manner of Japanese craziness

    Today’s post is a history lesson, about a very different Japan that took racial discrimination very seriously. Especially when Japanese were the victims of it overseas. Let me type in a section from Majima Ayu, “Skin Color Melancholy in Modern Japan”, in Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel, Eds., Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2013, pp. 398-401.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pathos of the Glorious “Colored”

    Japan’s Racial Equality Clause was denied by the Western powers, and racial discrimination such as the Japanese exclusion in California still remains, which is enough insult to raise the wrath among the Japanese. — Emperor Showa, 1946.

    As cited, the Emperor Showa (1901-1989) saw the exclusion Act as “a remote cause of the Pacific War”… In fact, opinions against the Japanese Exclusion Act were an immediate reason for public outcry in Japan. The population had become exasperated by the weak-kneed diplomacy that brought national dishonor amidst the emotional bashing from the mass media. This manifested in extremely emotional and near mass-hysteric situation, such as the suicides near the American Embassy on May 31, the follow-up suicides, the events for consoling the spirits of the deceased, and the countless letters sent to the Naval Department calling for war against the United States…

    American’s racial categorization aggravated Japan’s anger, which turned to anxiety as a result of Japan’s diminishing sense of belonging in the world; “the world being limited to the Western powers”, as Tokutomi cited earlier, even if Japan earned a status equal to that of the Western powers, there would still be a great “distance” between them, namely one of racial and religious differences, and the whole difference between the East and West. The sentiment of being a “solitary wanderer” rejected by the West contradicts the manner in which Japan brought about its own isolation. Tokutomi also asserted that the express “Asian” had no other meaning beyond the geographical, and thus Japan’s self-perceptions and identity no longer belonged to Asia. The sense of isolation was actually based on the denial of “Asia”, and it came from Japan’s own identification built upon the idea of “Quit Asia and Join Europe”. It could be said that Japan’s contradictory identification came to reveal Japan’s inability to identify with either the East or the West, a situation that came about through the emergence of a consciousness of the racial distance, especially from 1919 to 1924.
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    COMMENT: Look at how crazy racial discrimination makes people. Mass hysteria? Suicides? Rumors of war? Feeling rejected by the West after the elites had taken a risk and turned the national narrative away from the East? Thereby laying the groundwork for Postwar Japan’s narrative of uniqueness and exceptionalism that fuels much of the irrational and hypocritical behavior one sees in Japan today (especially vis-a-vis racial discrimination towards anyone NOT “Japanese”). Yet during Prewar Japan (when Japan was colonizing), the GOJ denied that it could even ideologically PRACTICE racial discrimination, since it was liberating fellow members of the Asian race (Oguma Eiji 2002: 332-3); and now we get denials that it exists in Japan, or that Japanese even understand the concept of racial discrimination because Japanese society allegedly has no races. After all, racial discrimination is something done to us Japanese by less civilized societies. It couldn’t happen in Japan. Yet it does. And when that is pointed out, then the denialism comes roaring back intertwined, as the above passage demonstrates, with the historical baggage of victimization.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12122

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    8 ) Economist: China to become world’s largest economy by end-2014. Will USA react to being overtaken similar to Japan?

    Bit of a tangent here, but when we saw Japan drop behind China to become the #3 largest economy, we saw reactions of craziness that still reverberate today (not the least sour grapes, but more heightened security issues). I wonder how the Americans will react to this news.

    The Economist (London) tells us like it is, with the aplomb of a former world power itself, declaring the American Century over. China will be the world’s largest economy years at the end of this year, nearly half a decade ahead of schedule.

    Myself, I think this is (or should be) inevitable: China has the most people, so it stands to reason that it should have the most capacity to produce and be rich if not richest. After all, the Pax Americana Postwar goal of helping countries become rich and developed is that they’ll become more stable economically, thus more likely to suppress warlike urges in favor of the mutual profit motive. Plus the Americans always held out hope that an emerging middle class would agitate for democratic reforms, and shudder at the thought of the Chinese system in its current form becoming the global hegemon. Will it react similar to Japan and see China as a threat, or will it keep Postwar historical goals in perspective and see it as a form of mission accomplished?

    The Economist: UNTIL 1890 China was the world’s largest economy, before America surpassed it. By the end of 2014 China is on track to reclaim its crown. Comparing economic output is tricky: exchange rates get in the way. Simply converting GDP from renminbi to dollars at market rates may not reflect the true cost of living. Bread and beer may be cheaper in one country than another, for example. To account for these differences, economists make adjustments based on a comparable basket of goods and services across the globe, so-called purchasing-power parity (PPP). New data released on April 30th from the International Comparison Programme, a part of the UN, calculated the cost of living in 199 countries in 2011. On this basis, China’s PPP exchange rate is now higher than economists had previously estimated using data from the previous survey in 2005: a whopping 20% higher. So China, which had been forecast to overtake America in 2019 by the IMF, will be crowned the world’s pre-eminent country by the end of this year according to The Economist’s calculations. The American Century ends, and the Pacific Century begins.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12370

    /////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally…

    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 75, May 1, 2014: “Tackling Japan’s ‘Empathy Deficit’ Towards Outsiders”

    Excerpt: In 2006, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama gave a speech about people’s “empathy deficit.” He described empathy as “the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us — the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town.”

    “When you think like this,” he continued, “when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help.”

    I agree. Enormous social problems arise when people don’t understand (or rather, don’t try to understand) what’s going on in other people’s minds. I was mindful of that during my Ph.D. fieldwork, when I interviewed dozens of “Japanese Only” businesses. I always asked for (and got, often in great detail) the reasoning behind their exclusionism. I never agreed with their stopgap solutions (shutting out people they thought were “foreign” because they didn’t look “Japanese” enough), but I gained some sympathy for what they were going through.

    But sympathy is not the same as empathy, and that is one reason why discrimination against foreigners and minorities is so hard to combat in Japan. Japanese society is good at sympathy, but empathy? Less so…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12356

    /////////////////////////////////////

    That’s all for this month. Thanks as always for reading!

    Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014 ENDS

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    SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2014

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    Hi Blog. As noted in the Japan Today article cited below, SAPIO debate magazine (June 2014) devoted an issue specifically to the issue of immigration (imin) to Japan (what with the Abe Administration’s renewed plan to import 200,000 NJ per year).

    Good. But then it fumbles the issue with all manner of narratives that microaggress the NJ immigrant back into a position of being powerless and voiceless.  First, let’s start with SAPIO’s cover, courtesy of MS:

    Sapio_June.Cover

    COMMENT:  Notice anything funny?  Start with the sub-headline in yellow talking about having a vigorous debate from “each world” (kyaku kai).  Each?  Look at the debaters being featured in the bubbles.  See any Visible Minorities there?  Nope, they’re left out of the debate once again.  All we get are the typical powerful pundits (probably all Wajin, with “Papa Bear” Wajin Ishihara second in line). , Where is the voice of the immigrant?

    And by “immigrant”, I mean people who have immigrated to Japan as NJ and made a life here as long-term resident if not actual Permanent-Residency holder.  The people who have indefinite leave to remain.  The “Newcomers“, who work in Japan and work for Japan.  As depicted in the picture of the labor-union demonstrators in the inset photo in the top right.

    Now look at the larger photo.  It’s a xenophobic demo about issues between Japan and Korea (and no doubt China).  That’s not a debate about immigration.  It’s a hate rally airing historical grievances between Japan and it’s neighbors, gussied up as a jerry-rigged issue about “Zainichis having special privileges as NJ” (the very root complaint of the Zaitokukai group, which, even if those “special privileges” were meaningfully true, ought to happen anyway what with all the contributions the Zainichi have made to Japanese society both as prewar citizens of empire and postwar disenfranchised residents for generations; but I digress).  Anyway, the point is that the cover does not convey the issue of “immigration in Japan” accurately.  Zainichi issues dominate.

    Finally, note how all the Wajin demonstrators have their faces blocked out in the photo.  Clearly Wajin have privacies to protect.  Not so the NJ protesting in the photo inset.  Hence NJ once again have fewer rights to privacy in the Japanese media.  Just like this photo from the racist Gaijin Hanzai Magazine of yore (remember that?  more information here). Comparative powerlessness in visual form.

    gaijinhanzaipg11

    Next up, check out the Japan Today writeup on the SAPIO special:

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Consultant urges ‘one-of-a-kind’ immigration policy for Japan
    JAPAN TODAY KUCHIKOMI MAY. 12, 2014 – TOKYO —
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/consultant-urges-one-of-a-kind-immigration-policy-for-japan, courtesy lots of people

    In its cover story for June, Sapio devotes 14 articles—including a contribution by former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara—and 23 pages to wide-ranging discussions on the subject of immigration. It looks like substantial changes are coming, and coming soon. What form should immigration take? What are the merits and demerits?

    Management consultant Kenichi Ohmae is, if anything, a pragmatic person. He also expresses his ideas logically and persuasively, and he has devoted a lot of thinking to the issue of immigration, which he suggests be adopted as a policy in three successive stages.

    First of all, the demographics don’t lie: by 2050 the largest age segment in Japan’s population pyramid, both for males and females will be those in their late 70s, with fewer and fewer younger people. If this course is maintained, people in their productive ages will decline rapidly. Ohmae says he pointed this out more than 20 years ago. During his past four decades as a business consultant, he has observed that in general, introduction of foreign workers in Japanese businesses has been carried out in five-year increments, during which time problems and challenges are resolved through a trial-and-error basis.

    When one looks back 25 to 30 years, to the economic “bubble,” Japan found itself with a labor shortage, particularly in construction and manufacturing. It began bringing in “Nikkeijin” (people of Japanese ancestry) from Latin America, along with Pakistanis, Iranians and others. Since there was no visa status for manual laborers, they entered on tourist or student visas, and the government feigned disinterest when they took blue-collar jobs.

    Then the bubble collapsed, and these workers were summarily dismissed. The number of illegal foreign workers declined, and Japan was soundly criticized for its lack of interest in the workers’ welfare.

    The current Abe government appears inclined to issue guidelines that will expand entry by foreign workers in such fields as construction, nursing care, agriculture and household domestics. On the other hand, it’s proceeding with measures to ensure that the entry of such foreigners not be mistakenly construed as “immigration policies.” In other words, time limits will be imposed on those workers’ stays. Inevitably, this will result in a repeat of the mistakes and troubles that happened after the collapse of the bubble.

    Considering that the Japanese babies being born now will take from 15 to 30 years before they start contributing to Japan’s economy, it’s clear that immigration offers Japan’s only hope to preserve its economic vitality. And, Ohmae emphasizes, now is probably its last chance to take meaningful action.

    The three stages Ohmae proposes are: First, Japan should emulate Silicon Valley in attracting 1,000 skilled people a year from such countries as Israel, India, Taiwan, Russia and East European countries. But these people should not be limited only to the field of Information Technology. They would be concentrated in six “clusters” around the country, mostly in large urban areas where they and their families would be made to feel at home with access to churches, schools and so on.

    The second stage is to find a way to attract 100,000 professionals a year in the category of work titles with the “shi” suffix (such as “kangoshi” or nurse), trained care providers, attorneys, firemen, etc), all of which are currently in short supply.

    The third stage is to accept blue-collar workers, of whom at least 300,000 per year will be needed to keep Japan’s economic engine purring. Ohmae suggests the Japanese government set up and fund preparatory schools in countries likely to supply labor, where students can learn the basics of the Japanese language, laws, customs, and so on before they arrive. And passing an examination will entitle them to a Japanese-style “green card,” permanent residence and the right to work. Such a system is likely to help avoid concentration of unskilled foreigners who would gravitate to the slums that have created social problems in other countries.

    When considering the future of immigration, Ohmae also urges the importance of avoiding its politicization among Japanese, so that when people debate its pros and cons, this can be done dispassionately, without tarring one another with “right wing” or “left wing” labels.

    ENDS

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    COMMENT:  Although unusually well-intentioned (check out his paternalistic and misogynistic attitudes about Burmese and Aung San Suu Kyi in 1997’s SAPIO), Ohmae, despite his verbal distancing from Japan’s perpetual “Revolving Door” visa regimes, fundamentally recycles the same old ideas about bringing in brainy NJ (unscientifically linking job skills with thoroughbred nationalities/ethnicities and sequestering them in their own enclaves, once again), with no apparent suggestion about making these immigrants into Japanese citizens.  Well, we don’t want to give them too much power to actually have any say over their own lives here.  NJ can come here to work so that we Wajin can stay economically afloat, but that’s all.  They shouldn’t expect much more than the privilege to work and stay in our rich country for as long as they’re needed.

    I’ll leave the readers to parse out all the unconscious “othering NJ” microaggressions for themselves, but, ultimately, the question remains:  Where is the specialist commenting on “immigration” (there are people well-studied in that science; try the United Nations) who will lend a specifically-trained viewpoint to the debate, instead of the same old, hoary Wajin pundits defending their ideologies?

    Finally, consider the opening editorial article in SAPIO below, which explores the issue of discrimination in general in Japan.  Despite the title (which rightfully talks about hate speech towards Zainichi Koreans and Chinese as shameful for a first-world country), it opens with some soul-searching about the Urawa Reds fans’ “JAPANESE ONLY” banner in Saitama Stadium as an example of Japan’s discriminatory attitudes.  Fine.  But then the article is hijacked once again by the (very important, but not complete) issues of domestic discrimination towards the Zainichi.

    Remember, this is an issue also devoted to IMMIGRATION.   The numbers of the Zainichi Koreans and Chinese (i.e., the “Oldcomers”) have been dropping for many years now.  They are not the immigrants of note.  The immigrants, as I defined above, are the NEWCOMERS.  And once again, their voice is not represented within the debate on discrimination or assimilation in Japan.  Those minorities, particularly the Visible Minorities, are silenced.

    What’s particularly ironic in the citation of the Urawa Reds’ “Japanese Only” banner is that IT WOULD NOT HAVE AFFECTED THE ZAINICHIS.  “Japanese Only” as a narrative very specifically affects those who do not “look Japanese“.  Thus any Zainichi in Saitama Stadium that day would have “passed” as “Japanese” on sight identification, and could have chosen to sit in those exclusionary stands.  Thus SAPIO, like just about all Japanese media I’ve ever seen, once again crosses its analytical wires, and with these narratives riddled with blind spots and microaggressions, Japan’s “immigration” issue will not be resolved.

    That said, I think PM Abe knows this.  That’s why his administration is going back to bribing Wajin to have more babies.  More on that here courtesy of JK.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

    Sapio_June1 Sapio_June2

     

    ENDS

     

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    Post-passage of State Secrets Bill, watch as Abe further dismantles Japan’s postwar anti-fascism safeguards

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

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    Hello Blog.  Some very significant things have happened in the two weeks since Debito.org got zapped and taken offline, and for the record we should cover them now since they warrant discussion.

    My conclusions first:  If you really want to “look on the bright side” of recent events, we could say “we live in interesting times”.  Given the normally glacial pace of reforms in Japan, the Abe Administration is proceeding with incredible speed — which he can do, given LDP control over both houses of Parliament.  It’s a pity that things are heading in the Rightist direction, dismantling the Postwar order of governance and the safeguards against Prewar fascism faster than the public or media can keep up.

    As discussed here before Debito.org got tackled, both inside and outside observers (including the UN) were alarmed at the contents of the State Secrets Protection Law (himitsu hogo hou), the one that leaves vague what a “government secret” is exactly (for better public non-transparency), and offers criminal penalties of up to ten years’ incarceration for violators, including journalists.  The tone of this law is pretty clear:  Anyone who gets in the way (and according to LDP Secretary General and defense policy wonk Ishiba Shigeru, “noisy” protestors will be labeled “terrorists”; I’m waiting for Ishiba to say the same thing about the perennially noisy, intimidating, and sometimes violent right-wing sound trucks) will be dealt with accordingly.

    Debito.org said that the protests in any case were too little, too late, and it would make no difference.  It didn’t (except in Abe’s approval ratings, which dipped below 50% for the first time for this administration; never mind — a few more saber rattlings with the Chinese bogeyman will remedy that), and the bill was rammed through both the Lower and Upper Houses and is now law.  SITYS.

    This after, as also noted on Debito.org previously, Abe’s Gaijin Handlers were sent off on a mission to placate the one country that might get them to avert this course:  The United States.  Top Abe advisor Kitaoka Shin’ichi recently visited Hawaii and points mainland to sell Japan’s remilitarization as a means to help America’s security exploits abroad, saying it would be possible by a mere circumvention of the Constitution by reinterpretation.  Who needs to go through that laborious process of actual Constitutional revision when you can just ignore it?  And it seems the Americans have signed off on it.  And on Japan’s new protection measures of “state secrets”.  And on a creation of a National Security Council that reports to Abe, modeled on the USG’s NSC, so who could object?  Checkmate.

    Next up, as Debito.org Reader JJS sent me this morning:

    /////////////////////////////////////
    Hi Debito. Glad to see you got control of your website back, though there may be lots still to do to secure it and prevent any further attacks. When you’re ready to start posting again, here are some juicy tidbits to chew on. With the passage of the Special State Secrets Bill, the Abe Administration is wasting no time making sure to A) start talking up Japan’s image as the “safest country in the world” while B) making sure to utilize the newly passed bill to start covering up any unsightly information from getting out about such things like nuclear powerplants, nuclear energy, etc. Finally, what will “cyber-terror” actually mean to this far right wing administration? Maybe your site may be included?? The next seven years leading up to the Olympics will be frightening to say the least.

    NHK)「世界一安全な日本」戦略決定
    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20131210/k10013709951000.html
    12月10日 12時49分

    「世界一安全な日本」戦略決定
    政府は10日の閣議で、2020年の東京オリンピック・パラリンピックに向けて、テロ対策やサイバー犯罪への対処を強化するなどとした治安対策の新たな指針、「世界一安全な日本」創造戦略を決定しました。

    「世界一安全な日本」創造戦略は、安倍総理大臣とすべての閣僚でつくる犯罪対策閣僚会議が、2020年の東京オリンピック・パラリンピックの開催を視野に、今後7年間の治安対策の新たな指針としてまとめ、10日の閣議で決定されました。

    それによりますと、良好な治安を確保することが、東京オリンピック・パラリンピックの成功の前提だとしたうえで、原子力発電所に対するテロ対策の強化や、海上や沿岸警備の強化など水際対策の徹底、それに、在外公館を通じた情報収集活動の強化に取り組むとしています。

    また、「世界最高水準の安全なサイバー空間の構築」にも取り組み、サイバー犯罪の取り締まりの徹底や、サイバー犯罪対策を手がけるアメリカの産学官の団体を参考にした新たな組織の創設などを進めるとしています。

    安倍総理大臣は、閣議に先立って開かれた犯罪対策閣僚会議で、「総合的な犯罪対策を政府一体となって推進し、国民が誇りとする世界一安全な国、日本を創り上げるため、全力で取り組んでほしい」と指示しました。

    ====================================

    日経)サイバー犯罪対策で官民組織 政府、東京五輪に向け戦略
    http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNASDG1000Z_Q3A211C1CR0000/
    2013/12/10 11:24

    保存印刷リプリントこの記事をtwitterでつぶやくこの記事をフェイスブックに追加共有
    政府は10日の閣議で、2020年の東京五輪開催に向けて取り組む治安向上策をまとめた「『世界一安全な日本』創造戦略」を決定した。脅威が増すサイバー犯罪やテロへの対策強化が柱。暴力団排除をはじめとする組織犯罪への対処や人材育成、再犯防止策の推進も盛り込んだ。

    閣議に先立つ犯罪対策閣僚会議で、安倍晋三首相は五輪開催に向け「安心して感動を共有できる大会にするには安全の確保が必須の前提で、わが国の国際的な使命だ」と指摘。「戦略に基づき、総合的な犯罪対策を政府一体となって推進してほしい」と呼びかけた。

    近年、重大な脅威が表面化しているサイバー犯罪への対処としては、優れた知見を持つ民間事業者や海外の捜査機関との協力強化を明記。米国でサイバー犯罪の手口やウイルス情報の集約・分析を手がける非営利団体「NCFTA」をモデルとした官民の新組織の創設も掲げた。

    テロ対策では、原子力発電所など重要施設の警備に力を入れる。警察にある特殊急襲部隊(SAT)の装備充実や自衛隊などとの共同訓練の推進を列挙。臨時国会で成立した特定秘密保護法を的確に運用し、諸外国からの情報収集・分析を強化することも盛った。

    ストーカーや配偶者間暴力(DV)、薬物、振り込め詐欺など身近な犯罪への対応も強化する。
    ===============================

    産経)東京五輪へ、「世界一安全な日本」を 犯罪対策閣僚会議が新計画
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/131210/plc13121012170015-n1.htm
    2013.12.10 11:14

    2020年東京五輪に向けて、政府の全閣僚をメンバーとする犯罪対策閣僚会議は10日、テロに強い社会構築などを目指した「『世界一安全な日本』創造戦略」を策定した。平成15年と20年にまとめた「犯罪に強い社会の実現のための行動計画」の最新版。五輪招致成功の要因として治安の良さが評価されたことを受け、名称を変え、今後7年間取り組んでいく。

    「原子力発電所に対するテロ対策の強化」を挙げ、警察・自衛隊など関係機関の実践的な共同訓練を進め緊急事態への対応能力を高める。また、海上や沿岸警備の強化などを柱とする水際対策の徹底、テロの兆候に関する情報を確実に得られるよう外国情報機関と連携し、情報収集や分析機能の向上を図る。

    「世界最高水準の安全なサイバー空間の構築」にも取り組む。増加するサイバー犯罪・攻撃の取り締まりを強化し、民間事業者と協力して未然防止に努める。組織犯罪対策など、各種犯罪全般について具体的に取り組む施策を列挙した。
    ===============================

    読売)世界一安全な国へ…サイバー犯罪・テロに対策
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20131210-OYT1T00638.htm?from=navr

    政府は10日午前の閣議で、2020年開催の東京五輪・パラリンピックを見据え、治安をさらに良くして「世界一安全な国、日本」を創り上げるための戦略を決定した。

    地域の絆や連帯の強化を図る一方、サイバー攻撃や国際テロなどの新たな脅威への対策を講じるとし、「五輪成功の前提として絶対に成し遂げなければならない」と強調した。

    戦略では、サイバー犯罪対策として、民間業者と連携して捜査技能の向上を図ることや、犯人の追跡を容易にするためインターネットの通信履歴(ログ)の保存などを検討していくとした。テロ防止では、アルジェリアの人質事件を教訓に、在外公館に警察出身者や防衛駐在官を増員するなど、情報収集と分析を強化するとしている。

    (2013年12月10日19時55分 読売新聞)
    ===============================

    官邸公式)『世界一安全な日本』創造戦略(pdf 63ページ)
    http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/hanzai/kettei/131210/kakugi.pdf
    /////////////////////////////////////

    Thanks JJS.

    Look, some people might be surprised by all this, but I’m not.  Debito.org saw this coming more than ten years ago, and watched it play out since 2000 as innate fears of outsiders in general were made into public policy that portrayed foreigners as criminals, then terrorists etc.  Now, it’s Chinese foreigners in specific (what with the two-plus “Lost Decades” of stagnant to negative growth causing Japan to be eclipsed by China as the largest economy in the region).  I’ve charted the arc of this public debate in a paper for Japan Focus, showing how officially-sponsored xenophobia was used to undermine, then decimate, Japan’s Left.  And with no opposition Left, there’s nothing to stop a dedicated silver-spoon elite like Abe, who has known no war (and accepts no responsibility for Japan’s historical role in it), for swinging the pendulum the furthest Right it has been in the Postwar Era.  Provided his health holds up, he’s got three years to do it.  Just watch him do it as quickly as possible.  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Media, SITYS, United Nations, Unsustainable Japanese Society, 日本語 | 30 Comments »

    Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 65, “Police ‘foreign crime wave’ falsehoods fuel racism”, July 8, 2013

    Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

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    Police ‘foreign crime wave’ falsehoods fuel racism
    BY ARUDOU Debito
    The Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE JUL 8, 2013
    Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/07/08/issues/police-foreign-crime-wave-falsehoods-fuel-racism/ Version with links to sources.

    These Community pages have reported many times on how the National Police Agency (NPA) has manufactured the illusion of a “foreign crime wave,” depicting non-Japanese (NJ) as a threat to Japan’s public safety (see “Upping the fear factor,” Zeit Gist, Feb. 20, 2007; “Time to come clean on foreign crime,” ZG, Oct. 7, 2003; “Foreigner crime stats cover up a real cop-out,” ZG, Oct. 4, 2002, for just a few examples).

    A decade ago, the NPA could make a stronger case because NJ crimes were going up. However, as we pointed out then, Japanese crimes were going up too. And, in terms of absolute numbers and proportion of population, NJ crimes were miniscule.

    Then bust followed boom. According to the NPA (see www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai/H23_rainichi.pdf, or the images accompanying this article), “foreign crime” has fallen below 1993 levels (see H5 column, representing the year Heisei 5)!

    NPAprelimcrimestats2011barchart

    That’s why the NPA has found it increasingly difficult to maintain its claims of a foreign crime wave. So, to keep up appearances, the agency has resorted to statistical jiggery-pokery.

    For example, look again at the NPA chart. The time frame has been expanded to 30 years; in previous annual reports, it covered just a decade. By stretching the parameters, the overall chart depicts a comparative rise rather than a small peak before a precipitous drop.

    Not accounted for, however, is the fact that the NJ population has also risen — more than doubling since 1993.

    Another method of manipulation has been to focus on partial rises in certain types of NJ crime, despite the overall fall. And I bet you can guess which got more media attention.

    The most creative NPA rejig is arguing that NJ crime has been “stopped at a high plateau” (takadomari no jōtai) — even if that “plateau” is downward-sloping.

    Every NPA argument leads to the same predictable conclusion: Further crackdowns on “foreign crime” are necessary, because NJ are importing criminality into a once-peaceful Japan.

    Sources:
    http://www.debito.org/japantimes082807.html
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1372
    http://www.debito.org/?p=7781

    Yet neither the NPA, nor the Japanese media parroting their semiannual reports, have ever compared Japanese and NJ crime, or put them on the same chart for a sense of scale. If they had, they would see something resembling the 3-D graph that accompanies this column (courtesy of Japan Times).

    crimeJandNJJapanTimesJuly2013

    The other chart in Japanese (that can be found at hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/jp/59/nfm/n_59_2_1_1_1_0.html and in the accompanying images) — on whose data the 3-D graphic is based — breaks down all crime committed in “peaceful” postwar Japan. Note the (less-reported) concurrent “Japanese crime wave” (especially the middle, yellow set of bars, which depict thefts alone).

    NPAJcrimestats19462007

    Since the right-hand scale is in tens of thousands, the graph tells us that there was a spike to well over 2.5 million non-traffic crimes in the peak year of 2002, a number that dropped to just over 1.5 million by 2009. Compared to 2009′s total “foreign crimes” of 30,569 (including visa violations, which Japanese cannot by definition commit), there is a difference of about a factor of 49. Thus “foreign crime” would barely even register on the chart.

    So how can the NPA still sex up the stats? They found a new way.

    In its 2009 white paper, the NPA talked about how “foreign crime gangs” are increasingly moving into Japan and creating “crime infrastructure” (hanzai infura).

    It’s still such an obscure term that NPA websites have to define it for the public as “things and organizations that are the basic foundation of crime,” i.e., cellphones under fake names, fake websites, false marriages, false adoptions and fake IDs (see www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/images/h0/h0001_04.gif)
    hanzaiinfrakanagawakenkeisatsuJune2013

    Although this “crime infrastructure” technically assists thieves of any nationality, the NPA’s online explanations focus on non-Japanese, with five out of eight examples offered specifically depicting NJ misdeeds (complete, of course, with racist caricatures, at www.pref.ibaraki.jp/kenkei/a01_safety/security/infra.html)
    hanzaiinfuraibarakijune2013

    You see this “criminal NJ” narrative again and again on NPA posters, such at the one reproduced here (www.debito.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/bouhaninfurabokumetsutaisakuJune2013.jpg), found at an immigration bureau last March, warning potential NJ miscreants against “forgery,” “bogus marriage,” “false affiliation” (i.e., claiming paternity on a foreign child to get it Japanese citizenship) and “false adoption.”
    bouhaninfurabokumetsutaisakuJune2013

    Note at the bottom, where the NPA has secured a special goro awase mnemonic phone number (hanzai infura nakuse — “get rid of crime infrastructure”) to help Japanese remember it better.

    Clearly this “crime infra” campaign is not bowing out anytime soon. In fact, the NPA is now citing it to discount the drop in foreign crime! As their 2010 white paper reports, “the extent of how much crime has become globalized cannot be grasped through statistics” (Kyodo News and Mainichi Shimbun, July 23, 2010).

    Seriously? So, suddenly, despite all the Nihonjinron mythologies, NJ are now supposedly more likely than Japanese to act in groups?

    Swallow this, as well as the argument that foreigners are somehow more “invisible” in Japan (of all places), and voila, the only conclusion you can possibly draw is that all “foreign crime” statistics come from a little black box that only the NPA has access to.

    Look, this is getting silly. You can’t ask for a more docile foreign population than Japan’s.

    Almost all NJ do their work (no matter how unequal salaries and benefits are compared to those of Japanese), pay their taxes and try to get along without committing any crimes. NJ don’t even cause trouble by clumping into huge ghettos or keeping a high profile (a recent government poll indicated that 46 percent of Japanese surveyed didn’t even know nikkei South Americans are living in Japan!). Nor do they riot every now and again about how horrendously they get exploited; they just hang on by their fingernails hoping for a fair shake in society — one that rarely comes, as protection from discrimination is far from guaranteed by enforceable laws.

    That should be enough hardship to contend with, but then in pounces the NPA to make things worse, picking on the weakest members of Japanese society (as it has done for decades, according to scholar Wolfgang Herbert’s “Foreign Workers and Law Enforcement in Japan”) to justify bogus budgets for fighting exaggerated NJ crime.

    Of course, foreigners are a soft target anywhere (by definition, they do not have rights equal to citizens in any country), but in Japan they are so disenfranchised that if anyone points a finger at them, there is no way for them to point back.

    NPA excesses have gone on long enough to encourage other bullies. We’ve seen a recent spike in the activity of Japan’s hate groups, most famously the “kill all Koreans” march through Tokyo on Feb. 9. Now how about these anonymous posters making the rounds?
    gizokekkonjune2013gaikokujinhanzaitsuihouJune2013

    One (reproduced in the images accompanying this column) warns of the allegedly “rapid rise” in fake international marriages for illegal overstayers and workers. Another one calls for kicking out foreign crime (murder, mugging, arson, rape and theft, totaling 25,730 cases — again, a drop in the bucket of Japanese crime).

    So, the threat to public safety isn’t “crime infrastructure”; it is in fact the “propaganda infrastructure,” reinforced by false NPA arguments, that normalizes public displays of xenophobia and hatred in Japan.

    One measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members. Japan’s systemic and unchecked bullying of NJ is going to hurt others, as emboldened haters eventually turn their attention to other weak social minorities.

    Message to government: Rein in the NPA, and stop them constantly bashing Japan’s foreign residents. Expose their statistical hogwash for what it is, and redirect budgets to fight crime in general, not “foreign crime” specifically.
    =========================

    Debito Arudou’s updated “Guidebook for Relocation and Assimilation into Japan” is now available as a downloadable e-book on Amazon. See www.debito.org/handbook.html . Twitter @arudoudebito. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community pages of the month. Send comments and story ideas to community@japantimes.co.jp .
    ENDS

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    Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Social Science, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Racist Images in Media, 日本語 | 19 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 7, 2013

    Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 7, 2013

    Table of Contents:

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    MORE DARK CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON

    1) Meidai’s Lawrence Repeta lecture May 23 on LDP’s likely constitutional reforms: Deletes fundamental guarantee of human rights, shifts from “rights” to “duties” & prioritizes “public order”

    2) FGU on how Japan’s employers are circumventing new contract law protections: poison pills in contracts

    3) Tangent: Julian Ryall on how Japanese employees educated abroad are denied opportunities by Japanese companies

    MORE RACIALIZED HUCKSTERISM

    4) Racist 2013 Toshiba commercial for product APB-R100X, SuiPanDa combination ricecooker/breadmaker

    5) KAJ and Debito.org on foreign crime and racial profiling in Japan: statistical hocus-pocus

    6) NPA “Crime Infrastructure Countermeasures” campaign also targets “foreign crime” anew. Justifies more anonymous anti-NJ signs

    7) Ueda Hideaki, GOJ rep at UN Committee Against Torture, repeatedly tells people to “shut up” for audibly laughing at Japan’s human rights record

    … and finally…

    8 ) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 64 Jun 4, 2013: “By opening up the debate to the real experts, Hashimoto did history a favor”

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    By ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
    Freely Forwardable

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    MORE DARK CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON

    1) Meidai’s Lawrence Repeta lecture May 23 on LDP’s likely constitutional reforms: Deletes fundamental guarantee of human rights, shifts from “rights” to “duties” & prioritizes “public order”

    We are mere weeks away from the next Diet Upper House election (July 23, to be exact), where half the seats are up for grabs, and at this point it looks like Japan’s rightward swing will be successful and complete. According to current opinion polls (and they do matter a priori, as Japan’s voting culture rarely supports underdogs), the LDP is far and away in the lead (so far so that the opposition DPJ won’t even bother to field more than one candidate in the Tokyo constituency), meaning they will probably add the Upper House to its collection of majorities in the more-powerful Lower House as well.

    With this comes the likelihood of first changes in the Postwar Constitution. Legal scholar Colin P.A. Jones of Doshisha University has already come out with articles in the Japan Times discussing the LDP’s proposed changes (see here and here). What I will do in this blog entry is scan and paste in the lecture notes (ten pages) from another legal scholar, Lawrence Repeta of Meiji University, who gave his analysis in a lecture at Temple University in Tokyo on May 23, 2013. It is less accessible than Colin’s newspaper articles but no less authoritative, so here it is, courtesy of CP (notes in the margins probably also by CP). Repeta similarly holds that we will see a shift in focus towards strengthening The State in the name of “public order”, and prioritizing the duties and obligations of the Japanese public rather than guaranteeing their rights as individuals.

    In sum, we are seeing the return of Japanese as Imperial subjects rather than citizens, where rights and duties are granted from above rather than secured and guaranteed from below. This is what’s coming, folks. Be prepared.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11592

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) FGU on how Japan’s employers are circumventing new contract law protections: poison pills in contracts

    We’ve talked about Japan’s Academic Apartheid at the university level (i.e., NJ on perpetual contracts, J on permanent tenure) for decades now on Debito.org (especially since employment standards of NJ in academia set precedents for employment everywhere). And thanks to decades of pressure, as of April 2013 the GOJ built in safeguards to stop perpetual contracting — where working five years continuously on fixed-term contracts now gives the contractee the option for more stable contract work. But employers are now getting around that by capping their contracts at five years with a “non-renewal clause”, building in a poison pill for employees no matter how hard they work or contribute to the company.

    It’s one more reason to reconsider ever working in Japan. For those who have no choice, keep an eye out for the poison pill and don’t sign a contract with one.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11582

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    3) Tangent: Julian Ryall on how Japanese employees educated abroad are denied opportunities by Japanese companies

    Ryall: Many young Japanese students go abroad to study with high hopes. They return home with foreign degrees and even higher hopes, only to be shot down by conservative company ideals.

    On the very first day in her first job after graduation, Tomoko Tanaka says her dominant emotion was of disappointment. Tanaka, who does not want her real name or the name of her company used in this article because it could affect her career, began work in April of this year and had high hopes that the years she spent studying overseas would make her a popular candidate with Japanese employers.

    Instead, it seems, the effort and money that went into perfecting her English skills in the UK may have been wasted as Japanese firms do not always welcome potential recruits who have been exposed to foreign ways of thinking and behaving…

    A survey conducted in March 2012 by Disco, a Tokyo-based recruitment company, determined that less than one in four firms planned to hire Japanese applicants who had studied abroad. Even among major, blue-chip companies, less than 40 percent said they would employ Japanese who had attended a foreign university. Aware of the problems they face if they have invested their time and funds on an education overseas, more are staying closer to home.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11532

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    MORE RACIALIZED HUCKSTERISM

    4) Racist 2013 Toshiba commercial for product APB-R100X, SuiPanDa combination ricecooker/breadmaker

    World-class company Toshiba seems to think that domestic commercials will only be seen within the putatively hermetic Japanese domestic market. And that there are no people in Japan who might take offense at being racially caricatured. The advertised product in question: A rice cooker that can also double as a bread maker — Toshiba SuiPanDa Model APB-R100X. The issue: Gaijinizing the user to promote bread consumption. Some stills from the CM enclosed. Note the accented speech rendered in katakana subtitle for the Gaijinized Japanese actress, complete with blond hair, appended big nose, and overexuberant gestures and speech patterns. Not to mention the dichotomous stereotype that people who eat bread (as opposed to potatoes or some other kind of starch) are automatically “Western” (youfuu).

    Debito.org has added this to its collection of Japanese commercials and product lines that use biological memes of racism to hawk product. Here are some stills of those, some of which were taken off the air when people protested. Of course, you are welcome to protest this as well. Here’s the Toshiba website with the product in question and some links to feedback sites. Many Japanese advertisers just never seem to learn. It’s up to us to tell them.

    UPDATE JUNE 29: Here are two other commercial spots for other Toshiba products, featuring the same businesswomen actresses in the same vein, but without the racialization. As a friend pointed out elsewhere, “Toshiba could have communicated the same message more effectively by interviewing a master baker or some other expert.” Courtesy of Kotaku. Note that in these videos, these people are co-workers who know each other. Gaijinized in the breadmaker commercial, she’s an unknown stranger. Once again, Gaijin are the perpetual “Other” who don’t belong, even with all the NJ working for Japanese corporations.

    UPDATE TWO: Toshiba is clearly aware that this commercial is problematic because they immediately removed it from their website. http://www.toshiba.co.jp/eco/ch/homebakery/index_j.htm
    That’s kinda funny. A world-class electronics company thinking that it can just remove their racist advert without comment, retraction, or apology, and that would be it? Not very media- or tech-savvy, are they? Download your own copy from Debito.org in mp4 format, for posterity. http://www.debito.org/Toshibasuipanda.mp4

    UPDATE THREE: Even funnier, this racist advertisement goes against its own Corporate Standards of Conduct!

    14. Advertising
    1. Toshiba Group Corporate Policy
    Directors and Employees shall: “not make reference to politics or religion in advertising, cause offense or show disrespect by implying discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, physical disability or age.
    http://www.toshiba.co.jp/csr/en/policy/soc.htm#SOC01_14
    Japanese version
    http://www.toshiba.co.jp/csr/jp/policy/soc.htm#SOC01_14

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11590

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) KAJ and Debito.org on foreign crime and racial profiling in Japan: statistical hocus-pocus

    A few days ago KAJ, the editor of MRbloggen, a Norwegian human rights blog, sent me a very insightful article on racial profiling and foreign crime reportage in Japan. Let me excerpt from KAJ and from some writing I’m doing:

    KAJ: On 26 May 2013, a large mass demonstration demanding the eradication of foreign crimes and the expulsion of illegal immigrants was commenced in Tokyo. The demonstration ran for approximately two hours (between 11:00 – 13:00) starting from Shinjuku Park. In a statement calling for participation of the Japanese public, it was noted that “this demonstration is not a demonstration against foreign crime specific. It is a demonstration for the expulsion of all bad foreigners” [translated]. The procession of the demonstration can be viewed here. This is not the first time such mass distress against foreign crimes occured. So the question that should be asked is, is foreign crimes really a problem in Japan? What may have caused Japanese to fear foreign criminals?

    COMMENT: The NPA’s annual White Papers on crime illustrate how crime reportage in Japan is differentiated into “kokumin versus gaikokujin”, with no comparison between them in scope or scale: Note the difference. Comparing a base year of 2009 (H.21), there were a total of 30,569 total cleared cases of crime committed by all foreign nationals (blue plus red bars). For kokumin, corresponding thefts and regular penal offenses not including traffic violations (purple bar, on a scale of 万件) total to over 1.5 million cases, or a difference of about a factor of 49. If put on the same chart with the same scale, foreign crime numbers would thus be practically invisible compared to kokumin crime numbers. However, the NPA has chosen to avoid this comparison, focusing instead on the rise and fall – mostly the purported rise – of foreign crime…

    UPDATE June 24 2013: A Reader sends in “Gaijin Crime” [sic] stats from the Shizuoka Pref. Police website that similarly try to visually accentuate any rises they can. This is the group that put out the racist “Characteristics of Foreign Crime” pamphlet back in 2000. Still up to their old tricks.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11557

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    6) NPA “Crime Infrastructure Countermeasures” campaign also targets “foreign crime” anew. Justifies more anonymous anti-NJ signs

    Last blog entry we talked about how the National Police Agency exaggerates and falsifies data to whip up media panic about “foreign crime”. We’ve also talked for many years on Debito.org about how the NPA has been putting out racist public notices about NJ criminals (including, in my opinion, assisting the seedier J-media to publish some examples of hate speech). Well, anonymous postermakers are now getting into the act, what with the NPA’s most recent anti-crime campaign:

    The poster at right calls upon Tokyo Immigration Bureau to do something about fake international marriages, claiming they’re “rising rapidly” (kyuuzouchuu), and says (with the obligatory plural exclamation points that are characteristic of the alarmist far-right) that we cannot permit illegal foreign labor or overstayers!!

    The poster at left calls for the expulsion of foreign crime (!!), with murder, mugging, arson, rape, and theft listed at 25,730 cases! (Again, no comparison with Japanese crime, which is far, far higher — especially if you look at theft.) The bottom boxes are not to me fully legible, but the blue one asks the authorities not to give up in the face of fake applications for visas, Permanent Residency, and naturalizations!

    Here’s is a poster from the Kanagawa Prefectural Police site (a proud sponsor of the door-to-door neighborhood resident checks and forked-tongue friendly cops who produce racist posters). It warns people in four languages that what they’re doing is criminal activity, including forgery, “bogus marriage” (wow, the language level is getting better), “false affiliation” (gizou ninchi, meaning a J male falsely acknowledges paternity of an NJ child to get that child Japanese citizenship), and false adoption (I hope this won’t now target Japan’s Douseiaisha). Although not mentioning NJ in specific, the poster’s multilinguality means it’s meant for an international audience (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, English, and I think either Tagalog or Bahasa Indonesia).

    The interesting bit is in the bottom green section, where it talks about the Hanzai Infura [illegible] Taisaku (Crime Infrastructure Countermeasures). What’s meant by “crime infura”? It’s a new enough concept to warrant an explanation from the Kanagawa Prefectural Police Site: “Infrastructure” is the things and organizations that are the basic foundation of a society, meaning roads, rails, plumbing, etc. By “Crime Infrastructure”, this is meant to be the the same thing to undergird crime, such as cellphones under false names, fake websites, false marriages, false adoptions, and false IDs. The Ibaraki Prefectural Police have a more elaborate explanation, with helpful illustrations of eight cases (five of which racialize the issue by pinning it to “foreign crime”).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11568

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    7) Ueda Hideaki, GOJ rep at UN Committee Against Torture, repeatedly tells people to “shut up” for audibly laughing at Japan’s human rights record

    JAPAN TIMES: Japan’s human rights envoy to the United Nations faced calls to quit Wednesday over a video that showed him shouting at fellow diplomats to “shut up.” YouTube footage of the incident at the [UN Committee Against Torture held 5/21-5/22] provoked a storm of criticism on the Internet, with demands that Ambassador Hideaki Ueda be recalled to Japan. Blogging Japanese lawyer Shinichiro Koike, who said he was at the session, explained that a representative from Mauritius had criticized Japan’s justice system for not allowing defense lawyers to be present during interrogations of criminal suspects…

    JDG: It says so much about what is wrong with Japan, and the way Japan views both international relations and human rights (the human rights representative shouting at other diplomats?)… Of course, we must cut the guy some slack, after all, he is forced to try and uphold the tatemae that ‘Japan is a modern nation’ in a room full of people who clearly know the truth about Japan’s human rights record.

    DEBITO: Well, I’m not going to cut this character any slack. Ueda is a very embedded elite. Here’s his resume at the MOFA. And he is living in the culture of constant denial of reality that Japan’s elites excel at (get this bit where he’s officially claiming in 2005 as Japan Ambassador to Australia that Japanese don’t eat whales). If I were listening to Ueda say these things on any occasion, I would laugh out loud too. The UN Committee Against Torture has commented previously (2007) on Japan’s criminal justice system, where treatment of suspects, quote, “could amount to torture”. Ueda is part of the fiction writers maintaining the GOJ’s constant lying to the UN about the state of human rights in Japan.

    Consider his statement on February 24, 2010 to the ICERD regarding Japan’s progress in promoting measures against racial discrimination: Paragraph after paragraph about the Ainu (fine, but they are not the only minority in Japan covered by the ICERD), then citing a dead law proposal that failed to pass about ten years ago as some sort of progress, the absolutely useless MOJ Bureau of Human Rights, a proposal targeting a sliver of the international refugee community (who refused the hospitality anyway because they knew how unsupported it is once they get to Japan), and alleged cooperation with NGOs (which I know from personal experience is an outright lie — they are constantly ignored.) Meanwhile all sorts of things banned under the ICERD (including “Japanese Only” signs) also go completely ignored. It is, in the end, a joke.

    So world, don’t shut up. Laugh aloud, laugh long. International awareness to the point of derision is the only thing that really shatters the veneer of politeness these officious elites keep taking advantage of in the diplomatic community.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11549

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally…

    8 ) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 64 Jun 4, 2013: “By opening up the debate to the real experts, Hashimoto did history a favor”

    JUST BE CAUSE
    By opening up the debate to the real experts, Hashimoto did history a favor
    BY ARUDOU Debito
    The Japan Times June 4, 2013
    Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/06/04/issues/by-opening-up-the-debate-to-the-real-experts-hashimoto-did-history-a-favor
    Version with comments and links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=11542

    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    That’s all for this month! See you next month after the election, when I’m hoping to say “see I told you so” a lot less than I anticipate.

    Arudou Debito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 7, 2013 ENDS

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    NPA “Crime Infrastructure Countermeasures” campaign also targets “foreign crime” anew. Justifies more anonymous anti-NJ signs

    Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  Last blog entry we talked about how the National Police Agency exaggerates and falsifies data to whip up media panic about “foreign crime”.  We’ve also talked for many years on Debito.org about how the NPA has been putting out racist public notices about NJ criminals (including, in my opinion, assisting the seedier J-media to publish some examples of hate speech).  Well, anonymous postermakers are now getting into the act, what with the NPA’s most recent anti-crime campaign:

    First, check these out (courtesy of Welp):

    gizokekkonjune2013gaikokujinhanzaitsuihouJune2013

    http://image.blog.livedoor.jp/kankyotoshisetsu/imgs/c/9/c9eaf02e-s.jpg
    http://image.blog.livedoor.jp/kankyotoshisetsu/imgs/3/1/318b27b8-s.jpg

    The poster at right calls upon Tokyo Immigration Bureau to do something about fake international marriages, claiming they’re “rising rapidly” (kyuuzouchuu), and says (with the obligatory plural exclamation points that are characteristic of the alarmist far-right) that we cannot permit illegal foreign labor or overstayers!!

    The poster at left calls for the “expulsion of foreign crime” (!!), with murder, mugging, arson, rape, and theft listed at 25,730 cases! (Again, no comparison with Japanese crime, which is far, far higher — especially if you look at theft.) The bottom boxes are not to me fully legible, but the blue one asks the authorities not to give up in the face of fake applications for visas, Permanent Residency, and naturalizations!

    (I would love to get larger copies of these posters. If anyone sees them on the street (take a photo!) or finds them online with greater resolution, please send to debito@debito.org.  Thanks.)

    COMMENT:  Neither of these posters has a source or an organization listed on them, so anonymous vigilante hate groups are getting into the act. I find the first poster in particular unsettling, where brides are portrayed as merely cowls of flags.  You can’t trust NJ women, because under their pretty faces are lurking nationalisms that are not part of “us”.

    Back to something more professional.  Again, from Welp:

    sonokouihanzaijune2013

    Courtesy http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/images/h0/h0001_03.gif

    This is from the Kanagawa Prefectural Police site (a proud sponsor of the door-to-door neighborhood resident checks and forked-tongue friendly cops who produce racist posters). It warns people in four languages that what they’re doing is criminal activity, including forgery, “bogus marriage” (wow, the language level is getting better), “false affiliation” (gizou ninchi, meaning a J male falsely acknowledges paternity of an NJ child to get that child Japanese citizenship), and false adoption (I hope this won’t now target Japan’s Douseiaisha).  Although not mentioning NJ in specific, the poster’s multilinguality means it’s meant for an international audience (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, English, and I think either Tagalog or Bahasa Indonesia).

    (Again, I would love a larger graphic so we could read it all:  Eyes peeled, Debito.org denizens of Kanagawa!)

    COMMENT:  The interesting bit is in the bottom green section, where it talks about the Hanzai Infura [illegible] Taisaku (Crime Infrastructure Countermeasures).

    What’s meant by “crime infura”?  It’s a new enough concept to warrant an explanation from the Kanagawa Prefectural Police Site:

    hanzaiinfrakanagawakenkeisatsuJune2013

    Courtesy http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/images/h0/h0001_04.gif

    “Infrastructure” is the things and organizations that are the basic foundation of a society, meaning roads, rails, plumbing, etc.

    By “Crime Infrastructure”, this is meant to be the the same thing to undergird crime, such as cellphones under false names, fake websites, false marriages, false adoptions, and false IDs.

    The Ibaraki Prefectural Police have a more elaborate explanation, with helpful illustrations of eight cases.  Three talk about the shyster groups and internet sites who offer drugs, fake subscriptions, loans and financing schemes, etc. But five of the eight talk about NJ criminal activity, including money laundering through “illegal overstayers”, employers of the same, underground hospitals that engage in illegal medical activities and drug dispensing (!!), underground taxis, false IDs, and false paternity scams to get Japanese citizenship.  As I said, complete with helpful illustrations (note the absence of hakujin, so the illustrator has to play with noses to gaijinize them properly):

    hanzaiinfuraibarakijune2013

    Courtesy http://www.pref.ibaraki.jp/kenkei/a01_safety/security/infra.html

    In fact, this “foreign crime infrastructure” meme is not new.  The first Debito.org heard about it was in 2009, when the NPA circulated its regular crime reports:  NJ crime was down year on year, so they had to find a way to sex up the numbers.

    Hey presto!  Shift the focus from about foreign criminals as INDIVIDUALS, and towards foreign crime in GROUPS:   Then we can talk about NJ crooks targeting Japan and spreading their invisible tentacles nationwide. (Never mind the already well-established tentacles of organized crime in Japan, naturally — as Tokyo Governor Ishihara said, NJ crimes are so heinous in comparison that there are some parts of Japan where allegedly Japanese yakuza fear to tread! (Ishihara, Nihon Yo, 2002: 100))  To raise the fear factor further, we’ll even tell the media that Gaijin groupism means the NPA can’t measure foreign crime statistically!  

    By 2010, this is exactly what happened.  And as of 2013, the NPA is now trying to popularize a new concept (since NJ crime still isn’t cooperating by going up anymore) of a “crime infrastructure”, as if it’s now embedded and endemic, invisible and unmeasurable — because it’s connected to NJ.  It’s part of the externality of once-peaceful Japan’s contact with the outside world and internationalization.

    This new campaign conveniently occasions those posters made by anonymous vigilantes. Now we have a propaganda infrastructure that normalizes public displays of xenophobia in Japan.  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Labor issues, Media, 日本語 | 11 Comments »

    KAJ and Debito.org on foreign crime and racial profiling in Japan: statistical hocus-pocus

    Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  Sorry for the longish absence. I’ve been working on a big writing project, and I’m happy to say I got it ready on time and under budget.

    A few days ago KAJ, the editor of MRbloggen, a Norwegian human rights blog, sent me a very insightful article on racial profiling and foreign crime reportage in Japan.  Let me excerpt:

    //////////////////////////////////////////

    Racial Profiling in Japan: Why do Japanese Fear Foreign Crimes?

    <Posted by Kiki A. Japutra, Editor/Redaktør>

    On 26 May 2013, a large mass demonstration demanding the eradication of foreign crimes and the expulsion of illegal immigrants was commenced in Tokyo. The demonstration ran for approximately two hours (between 11:00 – 13:00) starting from Shinjuku Park. In a statement calling for participation of the Japanese public, it was noted that “this demonstration is not a demonstration against foreign crime specific. It is a demonstration for the expulsion of all bad foreigners” [translated]. The procession of the demonstration can be viewed here. This is not the first time such mass distress against foreign crimes occured. So the question that should be asked is, is foreign crimes really a problem in Japan? What may have caused Japanese to fear foreign criminals?

    Japan has been known for its media frenzy that focuses on the rising number of crimes committed by foreigners coming into the country. Some have argued that the phenomenon occurred due to the fact that the number of crimes committed by foreigners have been disproportionately higher than those committed by Japanese nationals. This has resulted in the stereotyping, criminalisation of certain nationalities, and countless acts of discrimination against non-Japanese nationals.

    Photo: Lee Chapman (Tokyo Times)

    The increase of crime reporting in the news media is argued to be one reason for the growth of public anxiety and the fear of crime, and the Japanese media plays a central role in creating the image of a “sick society”. Japan Today, for example, writes that:

    [b]efore 1989, foreigners tended to be convicted at the rate of about 100 per year. But from the 1990s, the figure showed a marked rise and from 1997 onwards, posting consecutive year-on increases. By 2003, Japanese prisons held some 1,600 foreign inmates, making up roughly 5% of the total prison population. […] In 2010, foreigners were said to account for 3,786, or 4.4% of the total prison population. New arrivals that year included 195 Chinese nationals, followed in descending order (figures not shown) by Brazilians, Iranians, Koreans (both north and south) and Vietnamese.

    Such a report in the news media is not uncommon in Japan. Some have argued that how the public reacts towards an incident is entirely shaped by their perspective and attitude towards a certain issue. In the case of Japan, the discrimination, and later criminalisation, of non-japanese nationals are influenced by the image incubated by the Japanese media about how foreigners are the cause of the constant raising of crime in Japan, and that certain nationalities are responsible for certain types of crimes. Such stereotyping of crime is also known as racial profiling.

    How can we explain the hostility of the Japanese media towards foreign crime and foreigners in general? Mary Gibson explains in her book Born to Crime (2002) that “[a] succession of ‘Moral Panics’ offered opportunities for interest groups to shape criminal justice policy”. Citizens are more likely to support government’s means of social control (including laws and policies) if and when the government successfully soothes public’s anxieties and insecurities about crime. In other words, media acts as a tool to build public’s confidence in and support to the government.

    ////////////////////////////////////

    The rest of the article is at http://mrbloggen.com/2013/06/11/racial-profiling-in-japan-why-do-japanese-fear-foreign-crimes/, so have a look.

    I have incorporated this information into my writing.  Have a read.  Arudou Debito

    /////////////////////////////////////

    Differentiated crime statistics in Japan for Kokumin and “Foreigners”

    The NPA’s annual White Papers on crime illustrate how crime reportage in Japan is differentiated into “kokumin versus gaikokujin”, with no comparison between them in scope or scale:

    NPAJcrime19462011

    (Figure 1:  NPA kokumin crime statistics, 1946-2011, courtesy Ministry of Justice at http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/jp/59/nfm/mokuji.html (accessed June 11, 2013). The left axis is the rate of incidents of crime, the right axis the number of people involved in cleared crimes. The top layer of blue vertical bars are all cleared cases of penal crimes including fatal or injurious traffic accidents. The center layer of yellow vertical bars are cleared cases of penal crimes including theft. The bottom layer of purple vertical bars are regular violations of the penal code excluding theft or traffic accidents. The top red line is the rate of all penal code violation incidents including traffic incidents. The second blue line is the rate of regular penal code violation incidents not including traffic incidents. The three bottom dotted lines are, from top layer bottom, numbers of perpetrators for all penal code violations (red), numbers of perpetrators for penal code violations not including traffic accidents (blue), and numbers of perpetrators for penal code violations not including traffic or theft.)

    NPANJcrime19802009

    (Figure 2:  NPA statistics for crimes by foreign nationals, 1980-2009, English original, courtesy Ministry of Justice at http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/en/59/nfm/n_59_2_3_1_2_1.html#fig_3_1_2_1 (accessed June 11, 2013). The terminology, according to the MOJ (http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/jp/59/nfm/n_59_1_2_0_0_0.html): “Visiting foreign nationals” is a direct translation of rainichi gaikokujin, and refers to foreigners who are not “Other Foreign Nationals” (sono ta no gaikokujin) Permanent Residents, Zainichis, or American military on bases in Japan. After comparison with NPA charts below (cf. Figure 3), this chart does not include visa violations.)

    Note the difference in scale. Comparing a base year of 2009 (H.21), there were a total of 30,569 total cleared cases of crime committed by all foreign nationals (blue plus red bars). For kokumin, corresponding thefts and regular penal offenses not including traffic violations (purple bar, on a scale of 万件) total to over 1.5 million cases, or a difference of about a factor of 49. If put on the same chart with the same scale, foreign crime numbers would thus be practically invisible compared to kokumin crime numbers.  However, the NPA has chosen to avoid this comparison, focusing instead on the rise and fall – mostly the purported rise – of foreign crime.

    The effects and externalities of propagandizing “foreign crime”

    Herbert (1995: 196-228) traces the arc of NPA White Papers after they introduced a new term into Japanese crime reportage from 1987: rainichi gaikokujin (“visiting foreign nationals”) indicating a new breed of “foreignness” in Japan (separate from Zainichi, American military and dependents within US bases in Japan, etc.) as a byproduct of Japan’s “internationalization” and foreign labor influx. Herbert notes that the tone, particularly in the NPA’s 1990 White Paper special on “rapid increase in foreign workers and the reaction of the police”, “functions to suggest that ‘illegal’ migrant laborers were involved” (197). This led to a “prompt media echo” and a “moral panic” (Gibson 2002) of a purported foreign crime wave that, in Herbert’s assessment, was “rash and thoughtless” (ibid). In a thorough recounting and analysis of media reaction, Herbert concludes that police reportage and media reaction successfully aroused suspicion and criminalization of non-citizens, where Japan as a nation was portrayed as “defenseless against international crime” (198). This also set a template for future NPA campaigns against “foreign crime” that would manipulate statistics, incur periodic moral panics in the media, and justify budgetary outlay for bureaucratic line-item projects (Herbert: 179).

    By the 2000s, the NPA had normalized statistical manipulation to create perpetual “foreign crime rises”. As only a few examples: On May 1, 2000, the Sankei Shinbun cribbed from the NPA’s April periodic foreign crime report a front-page headline: “Foreign Crime Rises Again, Six-Fold in Ten Years;”[1] the small print was that this rise was in only one sector of crime, which had a comparatively small numbers of cases compared to cases committed by citizens. The NPA announced in their September 2002 periodic foreign crime report that the number of crimes committed by foreigners on temporary visas had jumped by 25.8% on the previous year, and serious crimes like murder, robbery, and arson likewise were up 18.2%. Despite rises in crime numbers committed by kokumin in the same time period (see chart above, H.10), the mass media headlined not only that foreign crime had increased, but also that foreigners are three times more likely than Japanese to commit crimes in groups.[2] Regarding latent foreign criminality, the NPA made the following argument within a 2010 news article: “The number of foreigners rounded up last year on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities was about 13,200, down roughly 40% from 2004 when the number peaked. ‘The extent of how much crime has become globalized cannot be grasped through statistics,’ the [NPA White Paper of 2010] says, attributing part of the reason to difficulties in solving crimes committed by foreigners—which are more likely to be carried out by multiple culprits than those committed by Japanese.”[3] In other words, even if “foreign crime” numbers are smaller than “Japanese crime” numbers, the NPA claims there must be a statistical understatement, because the latent “groupism” of “foreign crime” causes discrepancies when compared to “Japanese crime” (countering the stereotypical meme seen in Nihonjinron etc. of “Japanese groupism”).

    Moreover, as seen in police notices, the NPA was claiming “rapid rises” (kyūzō) in foreign crime when foreign crime rates and numbers were concurrently decreasing. Even after “foreign crime” numbers eventually dropped below any reasonable NPA excuse of statistical discrepancies or pinpoint rises in types of crime, the NPA widened the scope of its sample to make it appear as though non-citizen crime had still risen. Compare the scale of its 2001 statistics (issued April 1, 2002) when non-citizen crime had plateaued, with 2012’s (Figures 3 and 4), when it had significantly dropped:

    crimestats2001

    (Figure 3: Crime statistics for “foreign crime” 1991-2001, chart from April 2002’s NPA semiannual report on “foreign crime.” The black portion of the bar chart is numbers of visa violations, the grey portion numbers of criminal violations, and the black line the total number of non-citizen perpetrators. Courtesy Arudou Debito, JAPANESE ONLY (2006).)

    NPAprelimcrimestats2011barchart

    (Figure 4: Crime statistics for “foreign crime” 1982-2011, chart from April 2012’s NPA semiannual report on “foreign crime”. The blue portion of the bar chart is numbers of visa violations, the yellow portion numbers of criminal violations, and the red line the total number of non-citizen perpetrators. Courtesy www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai/H23_rainichi.pdf.)

    2011’s numbers have dropped below 1993’s numbers. So from 2007’s semiannual crime report the NPA shifted the scale back behind 1993 to show a rise compared to the past (similar to how Sankei Shinbun above depicted a six-fold rise in 2000, by comparing numbers to a decade earlier). There is no deflator to account for the fact that the non-citizen population was before 1990 less than half that of 2011.


    [1]Gaikokujin hanzai futatabi zōka: 10 nen de 6 bai ni.” [Foreign crime goes up again: Six-fold in ten years] Sankei Shinbun, May 1, 2000.

    [2] See inter alia Arudou Debito, “Generating the foreigner crime wave.” Japan Times October 4, 2002; Arudou Debito, “Time to Come Clean on Foreign Crime: Rising crime rate is a problem for Japan, but pinning blame on foreigners not the solution.” Japan Times October 7, 2003.

    [3] “NPA says foreign crime groups increasingly targeting Japan.” Kyodo News, July 23, 2010.

    ENDS

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    UPDATE JUNE 24, 2013:

    Debito.org Reader DR sends us a link from the Shizuoka Prefectural Police website, where the url is, indicatively, entitled “gaijin hanzai”.  In this screen capture we see this cute little chart:

    shizuokagaijinhanzaistatsjune2013

    Not only is the chart hard to read (the undifferentiated bars are numbers of Gaijin committing crime, but you have to look at the bottom numbers to figure out that the green bar is visa violations (which Japanese cannot commit), and the light blue bar is for non-visa-related crimes.  Same with the yellow and red lines respectively for number of Gaijin crimes committed.  Note how since 2004 the number of NJ committing any kind of crime is on a downward trend, as are visa violations.  

    But what gets rendered in red?  The jagged line to show rises.  Gotta keep that Gaijin scare on.

    Shizuoka Kenkei, remember, is the organization that provided the general public with that racist prevention of Gaijin Crime manual back in 2000.

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 23 Comments »

    My latest academic paper on Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus: “Japan’s Rightward Swing and the Tottori Prefecture Human Rights Ordinance”

    Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2013

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    Hi Blog. Here’s my latest publication, which came out last Sunday, elaborating more on the historical arc of Japan’s rightward swing I have already talked about journalistically in three recent Japan Times columns:

    Here is how I see the build up to what came to fruition with PM Abe and his cadre’s reinstatement to power last December.  Excerpt follows.  Arudou Debito

    //////////////////////////////////////////////
    The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 9, No. 3, March 4, 2013.
    Japan’s Rightward Swing and the Tottori Prefecture Human Rights Ordinance
    日本の右傾化と鳥取県人権条例

    By Arudou Debito

    ABSTRACT
    Japan’s swing to the right in the December 2012 Lower House election placed three-quarters of the seats in the hands of conservative parties. The result should come as no surprise. This political movement not only capitalized on a putative external threat generated by recent international territorial disputes (with China/Taiwan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and with South Korea over Takeshima/Dokdo islands). It also rode a xenophobic wave during the 2000s, strengthened by fringe opposition to reformers seeking to give non-Japanese more rights in Japanese politics and society.

    This article traces the arc of that xenophobic trajectory by focusing on three significant events: The defeat in the mid-2000s of a national “Protection of Human Rights” bill (jinken yōgo hōan); Tottori Prefecture’s Human Rights Ordinance of 2005 that was passed on a local level and then rescinded; and the resounding defeat of proponents of local suffrage for non-citizens (gaikokujin sanseiken) between 2009-11. The article concludes that these developments have perpetuated the unconstitutional status quo of a nation with no laws against racial discrimination in Japan.

    Keywords: Japan, human rights, Tottori, racial discrimination, suffrage, minorities, Japanese politics, elections, xenophobia, right wing

    Introduction

    As has been written elsewhere (cf. Arudou 2005; 2006a; 2006b et al.), Japan has no law in its Civil or Criminal Code specifically outlawing or punishing racial discrimination (jinshu sabetsu). With respect to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (which Japan adopted in 1996), Japan has explicitly stated to the United Nations that it does not need such a law: “We do not recognize that the present situation of Japan is one in which discriminative acts cannot be effectively restrained by the existing legal system and in which explicit racial discriminative acts, which cannot be restrained by measures other than legislation, are conducted. Therefore, penalization of these acts is not considered necessary.” (MOFA 2001: 5.1)

    However, in 2005, a regional government, Tottori Prefecture northwest of Ōsaka, did pass a local ordinance (jōrei) explicitly punishing inter alia discrimination by race. What happened to that law shortly afterwards provides a cautionary tale, demonstrating how public fear of granting any power to Non-Japanese occasioned the ordinance to be rescinded shortly afterwards. This article describes the defeat of a similar bill on a national scale, the public reaction to Tottori’s ordinance and the series of events that led to its withdrawal. The aftermath led to the stigmatization of any liberalization favoring more rights for Non-Japanese.

    Prelude: The Protection of Human Rights Bill debates of the mid-2000s

    Throughout the 2000s, there was a movement to enforce the exclusionary parameters of Japanese citizenship by further reinforcing the status quo disenfranchising non-citizens. For example, one proposal that would have enfranchised non-citizens by giving them more rights was the Protection of Human Rights Bill (jinken yōgo hōan). It was an amalgamation of several proposals (including the Foreign Residents’ Basic Law (gaikokujin jūmin kihon hō)) that would have protected the rights of residents regardless of nationality, ethnic status, or social origin.

    Read the rest at http://japanfocus.org/-Arudou-Debito/3907

    Other Japan Focus articles by Arudou Debito at http://japanfocus.org/-Arudou-Debito

    3907 Arudou Debito

    Japan’s Rightward Swing and the Tottori Prefecture Human Rights Ordinance

    2708 Arudou DebitoA. Higuchi

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan

    2559 Arudou Debito

    Japan’s Future as an International, Multicultural Society: From Migrants to Immigrants

    2386 Arudou Debito

    Gaijin Hanzai Magazine and Hate Speech in Japan: The Newfound Power of Japan’s International Residents

    2078 Arudou Debito

    The Coming Internationalization: Can Japan assimilate its immigrants?

    1743 Arudou Debito

    JAPANESE ONLY: The Otaru Hotspring Case and Discrimination Against “Foreigners” in Japan

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Exclusionism, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, History, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Problematic Foreign Treatment, SITYS | 4 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 4, 2012

    Posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 4, 2012

    Hi Newsletter Readers. Before I get to the table of contents, advance word about my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. It follows up on my JBC column last month on “Microaggressions“ (see below), my most hotly-debated column ever (with >5200 Facebook “Likes” and nearly two weeks in the JT “Top Ten Most Read” online (nearly a week of that at #1)), an entire HAVE YOUR SAY reader response page, and a JT Poll on the subject that occasioned more than 6000 responses. Thanks very much for the debate, everyone. Opening paragraphs:

    ============ EXCERPT BEGINS ============
    APOLOGIAS OF APOLOGISM (title submitted to editor)
    Japan Times JBC #52 June 5, 2012, by ARUDOU, Debito

    Last month’s column on “Microaggressions” was my most debated yet. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    So this month let’s explore how the “microaggression” dynamic works in all societies, and why some people live in denial of it. Brace yourself for a bit of theory:

    All societies, when defining themselves, decide who is “us” and who is “them.” So do countries. In the name of sovereignty, nation-states must decide who is a “member” (i.e., a citizen) and who is “not” (i.e., a foreigner). (If they didn’t, there’d be no point to citizenship.)

    Nation-states also perpetuate themselves by creating a feeling of “community” for their citizens – national narratives, invented traditions, and official shared histories. So the concept of “Who is ‘us’?” gets created, reinforced, and generationally encoded through the media, public policy, primary education, etc.

    What about encoding “Who is ‘them’?” It is by nature a process of differentiation…
    ============ EXCERPT ENDS ============

    Now on with the Newsletter:

    Table of Contents
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////
    “MICROAGGRESSIONS”
    1) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column May 1, 2012, “Yes, I can use chopsticks: the everyday ‘microaggressions’ that grind us down”
    2) Japan Times HAVE YOUR SAY column solely devoted to the May 1 JBC column on “Microaggressions”
    3) Japan Times May 1, 2012 JBC “Microaggression” column now translated into Taiwanese Chinese.

    OTHER INTERESTING OPINIONS
    4) Baye McNeil’s “Loco in Yokohama” blog brings up uncomfortable truths in the debate on racism in Japan
    5) Iida Yumiko on the nation-state, and how it includes people in the national narrative for its own survival (or in Japan’s case, how it doesn’t)
    6) USG Asst Sec of State links post-divorce Japan child abductions with DPRK abductions of Japanese
    7) Discussion: Aly Rustom on “Ways to fix Japan”

    DEEPLY FLAWED OPINIONS
    8 ) JT Editorial: Tokyo Metro Govt fuels “Flyjin” myth with flawed survey; yet other NJ who should know better buy into it
    9) Yomiuri scaremongering: Foreign buyers snap up J land / Survey shows foreigners use Japanese names to hide acquisitions
    10) WSJ: “‘Expats’ Say Goodbye to Gaijin Card”, needs more research beyond “Expat” conceits
    11) Kyodo: Municipalities to deny services to illegal NJ; Kuchikomi: Rising NJ welfare chiselers “social parasites”

    … and finally…

    12) Commemorating the Japan Times Community Page’s 10th Anniversary, a brief column by Arudou Debito, May 8, 2012
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
    Freely Forwardable

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    “MICROAGGRESSIONS”

    1) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column May 1, 2012, “Yes, I can use chopsticks: the everyday ‘microaggressions’ that grind us down”

    JBC: Microagressions, particularly those of a racialized nature, are, according to Dr. Derald Wing Sue in Psychology Today (Oct. 5, 2010), “the brief and everyday slights, insults, indignities, and denigrating messages sent to (visible minorities) by well-intentioned (members of an ethnic majority in a society) who are unaware of the hidden messages being communicated.”

    They include, in Japan’s case, verbal cues (such as “You speak such good Japanese!” — after saying only a sentence or two — or “How long will you be in Japan?” regardless of whether a non-Japanese (NJ) might have lived the preponderance of their life here), nonverbal cues (people espying NJ and clutching their purse more tightly, or leaving the only empty train seat next to them), or environmental cues (media caricatures of NJ with exaggerated noses or excessive skin coloration, McDonald’s “Mr. James” mascot (JBC, Sept. 1, 2009)).

    Usually these are unconscious acts grounded in established discourses of interactions. Nobody “means” to make you feel alienated, different, out of place, or stereotyped.

    But microaggressions are also subtle societal self-enforcement mechanisms to put people “in their place.” For NJ, that “place” is usually the submissive status of “visitor” or “guest,” with the Japanese questioner assuming the dominant position of “host” or “cultural representative of all Japan.”

    It’s a powerful analytical tool. Now we have a word to describe why it gets discomfiting when people keep asking if you can use chopsticks (the assumption being that manual dexterity is linked to phenotype), or if you can eat nattō (same with taste buds), or if you’ll be going “home” soon (meaning Japan is just a temporary stop in your life and you don’t belong here). It can even help you realize why it’s so difficult for the NJ long-termer to become a senpai in the workplace (since NJ subordination is so constant and renewed in daily interaction that it becomes normalized).

    Now let’s consider microaggression’s effects. Dr. Sue’s research suggests that subtle “microinsults and microinvalidations are potentially more harmful (than overt, conscious acts of racism) because of their invisibility, which puts (visible minorities) in a psychological bind.”

    Rest of the article and continuing commentary at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=10168

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) Japan Times HAVE YOUR SAY column solely devoted to the May 1 JBC column on “Microaggressions”

    The Japan Times on May 22 devoted its entire community page column section to reader responses regarding my May 1, 2012 Just Be Cause column on “Microaggressions”. (And yes, most listed were actually quite positive.) I think that’s plenty today for a blog entry. Have a read starting from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120522hs.html and feel free to comment on them below (if you wish to comment on the article itself on Debito.org, go here). And yes, the old column once again got put back in the JT Online Top Ten Most Read Stories! Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10240

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    3) Japan Times May 1, 2012 JBC “Microaggression” column now translated into Taiwanese Chinese

    Someone in Taiwan named “Chopsticks Master” said they got a lot out of my most recent Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column on “Microaggressions”, and kindly translated it into Taiwanese Chinese. Thanks very much! I can’t read the Chinese myself, but FYI, pass it around if you like. Any more languages out there people want to translate it into?

    I won’t excerpt it here due to potential mojibake. See it and the discussion on it here:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10233

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    OTHER INTERESTING OPINIONS

    4) Baye McNeil’s “Loco in Yokohama” blog brings up uncomfortable truths in the debate on racism in Japan

    Since the debate on “Microaggressions” and racialized treatment of people in Japan went into full swing over the past month, one other blog has been offering a good deal of insight as to how people are ultracentrifuged for special treatment in Japan by race, and how those people being ultracentrifuged likewise treat each other in a racialized manner. Such are the habits fostered by this dread social disease called racism, and in Japan’s case it’s good to have a different take on it at last.

    Baye McNeil, author of the new book “HI, MY NAME IS LOCO AND I AM A RACIST”, has a dynamic blog called “Loco in Yokohama” I think you ought to check out. He writes about racism in Japan with a fresh brazenness that I think many Debito.org Readers might find interesting. His 4-part (so far) series entitled, “Why do Gaijin Clash Over the Issue of Racism in Japan” is what drew me in.

    Links and quick summaries of those four parts below, and you should read the posts in order. If you’re at all interested in how you (and your multiethnic children) are being slotted in the subordinated “gaijin” category in Japan not only by Japanese, but by other NJ, you will want to read these and have a think.

    Also interesting is our respective positions in the blogosphere. As Baye himself points out, I’m White, and he’s Black (or whatever label you want to use: Caucasian/African-American etc.), and how we get treated by NJ as vehicles of the debate is a facet little covered in discussion (case in point: the “Tepido” Stalkers are friendly towards him, natch — ‘cos they don’t to be branded as “racists”). So let’s read some Baye and cue up on that issue before we get into my next Japan Times Just Be Cause Column (out June 5), where I will offer “Microaggressions Part Two”.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10248

    NB: The “Stalker Site” went defunct soon after this blog post came out.

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) Iida Yumiko on the nation-state, and how it includes people in the national narrative for its own survival (or in Japan’s case, how it doesn’t)

    Simplifying Dr. Iida’s points: Every country has to convince the people who live within it to accept that a) there is a country that they are members of, and b) that there are rules they have to follow in order to be members (obeying the laws, paying taxes, potentially giving up one’s life to defend it, etc.). When power becomes this unquestioned, it becomes (to use Gramsci’s word) “hegemonic”, in other words, normal enough to be invisible and generally unquestioned. Almost all people on this planet, born into a nation-state, accept that they are members of one country of another (by dint of having a passport, a tax home, accountability before the law etc.) and play by the rules because that’s how they were socialized.

    But there is a give-and-take here. The nation-state must give its members four things in order for them to adopt the rules of play and pass them down to the next generation. These are, according to Iida above:

    1) A shared memory of the past (i.e., a national narrative) that links them all,
    2) A sense of community, with moral obligations to it,
    3) A world view that makes sense,
    4) Hope for the future that other people share.

    Fine. Now, as this relates to Debito.org: What do NJ in Japan get? None of this, really. And that’s why NJ are given incentives not to stay: It goes beyond mere “alienation” — it is a fundamental, egregious, and probably fatal flaw in Japan’s nation-state dynamic of eliminating newcomers from the national narrative.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10215

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    6) USG Asst Sec of State links post-divorce Japan child abductions with DPRK abductions of Japanese

    Some news on the Japan Child Abductions Issue, where Japan has long set itself up as a safe haven for one parent to abscond with their child following separation or divorce (regardless of whether the marriage was international or domestic), what with no joint custody and no guaranteed child visitation in Japan. Thanks to the Koseki Family Registry system, the divorced couple becomes strangers to each other, and children go on only one parent’s koseki (with the other parent losing all legal title and access to their kids unless the custodial parent approves). In cases of international/intercontinental separation or divorce, the Japanese partner can abduct their child to Japan (since Japan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, and the Japanese embassy does not enforceably require the permission of both parents to issue a Japanese child a Japanese passport), and that’s it — the kids are gone. Japanese courts have always ruled that the absconder has established “habitual residence” in Japan by dint, so who dares wins. Meanwhile, despite international protests about the GOJ not being a signatory to the Hague, Japan has been dragging its feet for years now on signing (and as I have argued in the past, will probably caveat its way out of enforcing it anyway, as it has done with other treaties (like the CERD and the ICCPR)).

    Finally, enough has become enough for sensible people. According to articles below, US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell has once again come out in public making a link between the irony of all the tragedymaking regarding Japanese being kidnapped decades ago by the DPRK (which is indeed a tragedy, yes), yet the lack of tragedy over Japanese still kidnapping international kids. Good. We’ve made that comparison before here on Debito.org, and were roundly condemned by the usual suspects for doing so. (And, as a related tangent, I’ve probably criticized the most by people misquoting me as advocating that foreigners shouldn’t marry Japanese. No, for the record, I’m saying NOBODY, Japanese or NJ, should get married and have children under the insane family law system in Japan; the risks are too great if parents separate).

    As per articles below, the Japanese press is of course rallying the public behind the home team via editorial camouflaged as news (it’s hard to discern even what Campbell actually said). It’s even trying to instruct the Japanese public how English is different than Japanese. You see, if a North Korean kidnaps a Japanese, its “abduction” (rachi). But if a Japanese kidnaps an international child, its “tsuresari” (taking along and disappearing). But you see, the English language is inflexible — it only has one word for this action: “abduction”. So it’s all one big “linguistic misunderstanding”. Even though, in either case, abduction is what it is.

    And if you really want to take this issue to the next level of linkage, consider this comment from a friend:

    “As noted in Wikipedia, “In 1944, the Japanese authorities extended the mobilization of Japanese civilians for labor to the Korean peninsula. Of the 5,400,000 Koreans conscripted, about 670,000 were taken to mainland Japan . . .” And the Japanese have the audacity to complain about 20 or so Japanese abducted to North Korea? The Japanese government should apologize and compensate the 5 million Koreans conscripted 70 years ago before uttering a single word about the actions of North Korea 35 years ago.”

    So underlying all of this is an issue of hypocrisy, and now the GOJ is probably going to have to resort to its only real defense when cornered on an issue: agonistic posturing and outrage — trying to derail the issue in favor of maintaining “The Relationship”. People have fallen for this before (after all, the US wants to keep its military bases and its market to sell inter alia weaponry). But I’m not sure this issue is really big enough (I think Masumoto has an inflated sense of his own power) to do that. Let’s keep our eyes on this one, since it’s a good case study of gaiatsu and GOJ policy in the making.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10191

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    7) Discussion: Aly Rustom on “Ways to fix Japan”

    Rustom: It has taken me over a year to write this piece. I have put my heart and soul into making this reading as concise as possible. This is a small essay on the problems of Japan, and my personal opinion on how to fix them.

    These days, Japan is suffering from a lot of socioeconomic problems. Whenever I talk to people and ask how can we fix them, no one ever has an answer. Everyone just folds their arms, tilts their head and says “Muzukashii” (Its difficult) Well, I do have a few solutions.
    I have written a small piece here on how to solve these problems. I have written this as a foreigner who has lived in Japan for over ten years and has the unique perspective of looking at things from both the inside and the outside.

    It is not my intention to try to tell Japan or it’s people what to do. Nor do I have any delusions of grandeur that the Japanese will all of a sudden sit up and take notice of what I have to say. I am only writing this to show that there are concrete steps that can be taken to heal Japan, and that all it takes is a little bit of thinking outside the box to make this happen. I am also hoping that this small piece will at least start up some degree of discourse which will eventually lead to some level of action sometime in the future. I also felt the need to vent, as I see a beautiful country being destroyed since no one wants to take the helm and do what needs to be done. So without further ado, let’s start:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10229

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    DEEPLY FLAWED OPINIONS

    8 ) JT Editorial: Tokyo Metro Govt fuels “Flyjin” myth with flawed survey; yet other NJ who should know better buy into it

    The Japan Times came out with an editorial last Sunday, entitled “Flyjin rather few,” which talked about a recent Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey of NJ in Tokyo, carried out to ascertain how many stayed or left after the disasters of March 2011 and beyond. The survey was trying to see if the “Flyjin” phenomenon really happened, and in doing so, the JT notes, potentially resuscitated the invective of Japanese media and xenophobic pundits branding NJ as deserters.

    The JT editorial is a doozy. Not only does it demonstrate that “the vast majority of foreigners in Tokyo stayed right where they were — in Tokyo”, it also castigates the whole thought process behind it: “The survey did little to focus on what can be done to ensure that all residents of Tokyo be given clear information about conditions and constructive advice about what to do in the event a similar disaster strikes in Tokyo in the near future.”

    “The ‘flyjin’ issue, besides being a derogatory term, was always a tempest in a teapot. Surveys that find information to help improve communications are important, but it is the actions that follow that really count. The metropolitan government should prepare a means to give all residents of Tokyo, whatever nationality they are, trustworthy information during emergencies so safe, sensible decisions can be made.”

    In other words, the JT was easily able to see through the stupid science (e.g., the singling out of NJ, the small sample size, limiting it to Tokyo residents, the lack of clear aim or rigor in methodology, and ultimately its lack of conclusion: “The survey did little to better understand all Tokyoites’ complicated reactions to the crisis.”)

    Yet people who should know better, and who should be advocating for the needs of the NJ Communities in Japan, are already citing this survey as somehow indicative. Japan Probe, for example, states that this survey “confirms Post-3/11 “Flyjin” Phenomenon / 25 Percent of Tokyo’s Foreign Residents Fled”, and apparently “deals a major blow to certain bloggers who have claimed that the “flyjin” phenomenon was a myth”.

    One of those certain bloggers indeedy would be me. And I gave much harder and rigorous numbers from all of Japan and from the central government and for the entire year, clearly exposing the “Flyjin” phenomenon as myth in my April Japan Times column. Hence, there’s no clearer interpretation of Japan Probe’s conclusion than the will to live in obtuse denial.

    But that’s what keeps hatenas hovering around my head. Wouldn’t it be nicer if online resources like Japan Probe (which calls itself “The web’s no.1 source for Japan-related news and entertainment”) would work for the good of the NJ communities it purports to inform? It did do so once upon a time, for example, during the whole GAIJIN HANZAI mook debacle, where Japan Probe was instrumental in helping get the racist magazine on foreign crime off the shelves and the publisher bankrupted. But now, why try so hard, as the Japan Times Editorial above saliently notes, “to exaggerate the extent of foreigners leaving the country and impugn their motives for leaving”?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10181

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    9) Yomiuri scaremongering: Foreign buyers snap up J land / Survey shows foreigners use Japanese names to hide acquisitions

    Dear Debito: Just found the article linked below on Yomiuri’s website which gives some food for thought. The article comments on Yomiuri’s own survey in which prefectural governments were asked “about the number of land acquisitions by foreigners and the size of the land acquired” The article also includes the usual ingredients for fear mongering, starting with:

    “In one example in which a Japanese name was used to disguise a land transaction, a Chinese in his 40s living in Sapporo bought 14 hectares of mountain forest and other lands near the Niseko area in Hokkaido last autumn. For this transaction, he used the name of a Japanese real estate company.”
    and concluding with:
    “It’s necessary to establish an ordinance on land transactions at a local level so that local governments are fully aware of the owners of land and water sources,” said Makoto Ebina, a professor at Otaru University of Commerce who participated in a discussion on the ordinance in Hokkaido.”However, as many land transactions are unclear because names are borrowed, it’s important to carefully check out each transaction,” Ebina said.

    The title of the article which reads ” Foreign buyers snap up land / Survey shows many people use Japanese names to hide acquisitions” already says it all actually. The only thing missing was a link to Ishihara’s bid for donations to buy the Senkaku islands which can be found here >> http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/INET/OSHIRASE/2012/04/20m4r200.htm and here http://www.chijihon.metro.tokyo.jp/senkaku.htm

    COMMENT: One other thing I will point out is that although this has been made a fuss of before (back in 2010, particularly regarding water supply — after all, like domestic ethnic minorities were erroneously accused of doing during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, foreign buyers might poison it!), it’s ironic that now people are getting scared about foreigners buying up, say, Niseko — for that’s been going on for quite awhile, up to now a lot of Australians etc. (who for reasons unfathomable to me love snow ) making the purchases. While there were some expected grumbles from the locals, it wasn’t seen as “an issue of national security” until now.

    Aha, but there you go. There are foreigners and then there are FOREIGNERS! In this case, it’s apparently those sneaky Chinese we have to fear. Gotcha. Makes perfect sense if you’re a Japanese policymaker, a xenophobe who thinks that Chinese are trying to carve up Japan, or an editor at the Yomiuri, I guess. Good company to be within.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10163

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    10) WSJ: “‘Expats’ Say Goodbye to Gaijin Card”, needs more research beyond “Expat” conceits

    Here we have the Wall Street Journal up to its old tricks: Representing the “Expat” community’s attitudes towards Japan, doing “Japan Real Time” research that is essentially navel-gazing about Japan from a skyscraper window (or a computer screen, as it were).

    Even though the reporter, Sarah Berlow, parrots much of the net-researched stuff (courtesy of the GOJ, sharing the same blinkered viewpoint of life in Japan for NJ residents) accurately, check this bit out:

    “New residents will instead be given a “residence card” similar to the ones Japanese citizens carry, except for a special marking designating the holder’s nationality.”
    Err… wrong. Japanese citizens have no residence cards to carry, as we’ve discussed here on Debito.org for years.

    And how about this: “These new changes come as the government attempts to increase this number [of foreigners entering Japan], to an “era of 25 million foreign visitors to Japan” by 2020, a goal established in 2011.”

    Err… foreign tourists never had to carry Gaijin Cards in the first place (only people who had to register with residency visas of three months and up), so these changes have no connection and will have no effect. Does Ms. Berlow even have a residency visa in Japan so she might know about this from personal experience? If not, there are whole books on this, ones so easy even the busy-getting-rich-off-their-Expat-packages-and-enjoying-their-Expat-Bubble-Enclaves Expats can read them (cf. HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS), so bone up.

    And there is no mention of the RIFD Gaijin Card Chipping for the new “Gaijin Residency Cards” only, something I’ve made a fuss about in the past. Ms. Berlow uses the word “track” in regards to NJ within the article, which is appropriate, for reasons she probably didn’t research enough to anticipate. RFID enables remote tracking of people’s credit card numbers, to begin with.

    And with technological advances, as I’ve argued before, it is only a matter of time and degree before it’s capable at long distances — if it’s not already. Don your tinfoil hats, but RFID technology is already being used in military drone guidance systems for long-distance precision targeting. You think the GOJ’s going to abdicate its wet-dream ability to keep physical track of potential foreign “illegal overstayers”, now that it has the ability to RFID chip every foreign resident from now on? Oh well, the “Expats” need not worry. They’re not in Japan forever.

    Finally, what’s the reason I’m jumping on the WSJ so much? Because, as I’ve said, they’re up to their old tricks. Don’t forget, it was the WSJ who first broke (and legitimized in English and Japanese) the story about the fictitious “Flyjin” Phenomenon, setting the agenda to tar the NJ who left (or worse, stayed for the stigma). Thus the WSJ’s record of “spoiling things” for NJ in Japan is on par with what critics claim Debito.org does. Sorry, we might not have their media reach or legitimacy, but at least we do better research here, for free. That’s a deal even a non-”Expat” can afford.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10242

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    11) Kyodo: Municipalities to deny services to illegal NJ; Kuchikomi: Rising NJ welfare chiselers “social parasites”

    We’ve had a discussion recently as part of Debito.org Comments about one of the side-effects of Japan’s new residency-certificate registration (juuminhyou) coming up in July. People suspect that the GOJ is using this revision as a means not only to make sure that local governments aren’t being “soft” on NJ visa overstayers (by denying them benefits even the Kyodo article below acknowledges they are entitled to), but also to check whether all NJ residents are registered and paying into Japan’s social insurance system. This is controversial because plenty of Japanese also opt out of the system, and also because it will possibly become a means to say, “Pay in or no visa renewal,” something that citizens obviously cannot be threatened with.

    This is yet another example of social Othering on a policy level (if you want to tighten things up, you should do it across the board for everyone in Japan, not just NJ), not to mention with some pretty stiff potential penalties (back paying into the system may run into the tens and hundreds of man yen, which can be financially insurmountable, and unjust especially when some employers in Japan have conveniently forgotten to pay in their half of the NJ employee’s social insurance when hiring NJ full time). Thus NJ get uprooted from Japan due to their employer’s negligence.

    I for one haven’t done enough research on what’s going to happen in coming months under the new system (my scrivener colleague in the visa industry himself too is waiting and seeing), but when it becomes plainer it’ll be discussed here. What IS plainer is that the Japanese media is already gearing up to portray the perpetual scapegoats for Japan’s social ills — NJ — this time as welfare spongers and social parasites. See the second article below.

    Note that all of the things that are being alleged against foreign “welfare chiselers” in that article I’ve heard and seen being done by Japanese too (especially the fake marriage bit — but what’s not covered in the article is how a NJ visa changes when a divorce occurs, so it’s not that “easy”). But one need not mention that inconvenient detail. NJ shouldn’t be here anyway if they’re going to commit, er, the same crimes that Japanese commit. Once again, social Othering and scapegoating of a disenfranchised minority is SOP in Japan for lots of social ills — and worse yet, the specter of “foreign hordes taking advantage of Japan’s overgenerous system” sells newspapers and alienates the aliens. Nothing less than media-bred xenophobia.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10135

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally…

    12) Commemorating the Japan Times Community Page’s 10th Anniversary, a brief column by Arudou Debito, May 8, 2012

    As the very popular and quite influential Community Page at the Japan Times celebrated its 10th Anniversary this week, I was asked (along with their former editor and best reporter) to say a few words as their featured columnist (now for four years plus). Here’s what I said. There are links to other celebratory articles below that. Enjoy, and congrats Community Page. You’re doing great things. Thanks for being there for our writings, and for us.

    ZG: Having been an infrequent contributor to other publications, I was impressed by the comparative professionalism at The Japan Times: I was never forced to toe any editorial line by the Community Page (unlike, say, the vanity projects that pass for English-language newspapers at the Asahi and Yomiuri, who tend to take criticism of Japan in English by NJ authors as a personal affront). It was also nice that the JT paid its contributors the amount as promised promptly, something relatively rare in this business.

    Honesty has served the Community Page well. Over the past decade, we have had hundreds of contributors writing exposes on subjects few other domestic outlets would touch, including unequal hiring practices due to nationality, the merits of unionization, international divorces from the studiously ignored NJ partner’s perspective, the Japanese judiciary’s systematic discrimination against claimants based on race or social origin, the biased treatment of NJ crime by police and the media, public policies and government statements that latently and blatantly disenfranchise whole peoples in Japan, one’s rights under the law and revised visa regimes, and even new takes on the perennial debate over the epithet “gaijin.”

    Where else in our domestic media could this motley collection of journalists, scholars, pundits, activists and general malcontents consistently splash their views across a page (now two) every Tuesday — and have their presence permanently recorded in this country’s best online archive of English articles on Japan?

    For that matter, where else in Japan’s media does anyone even acknowledge that there is a “community” of NJ in Japan, or offer authoritative information specifically for the benefit of this community? Only here.

    Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=10193

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading! May good debates continue!
    Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 4, 2012 ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Newsletters | 2 Comments »

    JT Editorial: Tokyo Metro Govt fuels “Flyjin” myth with flawed survey; yet other NJ who should know better buy into it

    Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2012

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    Novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU, Debito

    Other works/publications by ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog. The Japan Times came out with an editorial last Sunday, entitled “Flyjin rather few,” which talked about a recent Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey of NJ in Tokyo, carried out to ascertain how many stayed or left after the disasters of March 2011 and beyond. The survey was trying to see if the “Flyjin” phenomenon really happened, and in doing so, the JT notes, potentially resuscitated the invective of Japanese media and xenophobic pundits branding NJ as deserters.

    The JT editorial is a doozy. Not only does it demonstrate that “the vast majority of foreigners in Tokyo stayed right where they were — in Tokyo“, it also castigates the whole thought process behind it:

    The survey did little to focus on what can be done to ensure that all residents of Tokyo be given clear information about conditions and constructive advice about what to do in the event a similar disaster strikes in Tokyo in the near future.”

    “The ‘flyjin’ issue, besides being a derogatory term, was always a tempest in a teapot. Surveys that find information to help improve communications are important, but it is the actions that follow that really count. The metropolitan government should prepare a means to give all residents of Tokyo, whatever nationality they are, trustworthy information during emergencies so safe, sensible decisions can be made.”

    Thank you.  Read the full JT May 6, 2012 Editorial at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20120506a2.html

    In other words, the JT was easily able to see through the stupid science (e.g., the singling out of NJ, the small sample size, limiting it to Tokyo residents, the lack of clear aim or rigor in methodology, and ultimately its lack of conclusion: “The survey did little to better understand all Tokyoites’ complicated reactions to the crisis.”)

    Yet people who should know better, and who should be advocating for the needs of the NJ Communities in Japan, are already citing this survey as somehow indicative. Japan Probe, for example, states that this survey “confirms Post-3/11 “Flyjin” Phenomenon / 25 Percent of Tokyo’s Foreign Residents Fled“, and apparently “deals a major blow to certain bloggers who have claimed that the “flyjin” phenomenon was a myth.

    One of those certain bloggers indeedy would be me.  And I gave much harder and rigorous numbers from all of Japan and from the central government and for the entire year, clearly exposing the “Flyjin” phenomenon as myth in my April Japan Times column.  Hence, there’s no clearer interpretation of Japan Probe’s conclusion than the will to live in obtuse denial.

    But that’s what keeps hatenas hovering around my head.  Wouldn’t it be nicer if online resources like Japan Probe (which calls itself “The web’s no.1 source for Japan-related news and entertainment”) would work for the good of the NJ communities it purports to inform? It did do so once upon a time, for example, during the whole GAIJIN HANZAI mook debacle, where Japan Probe was instrumental in helping get the racist magazine on foreign crime off the shelves and the publisher bankrupted. But now, why try so hard, as the Japan Times Editorial above saliently notes, “to exaggerate the extent of foreigners leaving the country and impugn their motives for leaving“?

    What’s gained out of any of this, James at Japan Probe? The smug satisfaction that you’re somehow right? (Even though you’re not?) Or that you’re somehow “more dedicated to Japan” because you didn’t leave? (Assuming you are in Japan.  Who cares?  Moreover, what if, as I argued in my May 2011 JT column, people did leave Japan anyway?  It’s their life and their decision.  Why should you care anyway?)

    Why, in these days of seemingly-endless self-sacrifice in Japan, do people have to turn on themselves like this and just make things worse for everyone?  Especially themselves?  It’s a serious question.  So let me pose it.  Arudou Debito

    //////////////////////////////////////////

    Referential J media:

    25 percent of foreigners living in Tokyo left Japan temporarily after March 11 quake
    May 01, 2012 (Mainichi Japan)
    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120501p2a00m0na016000c.html

    Twenty five percent of foreigners living in Tokyo left the country temporarily following the March 11, 2011 disasters, according to a recent Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey.

    The survey was conducted between October and November 2011 as part of the metropolitan government’s efforts to re-examine the way information is delivered to foreigners residing in the capital in case of a disaster. It obtained responses from a total of 169 Tokyo-based foreigners.

    According to the survey, among those who had briefly returned to their home countries following the disasters, nearly half were foreigners who have lived in Japan for less than three years, hinting at the tendency that the shorter a foreigner had lived in Tokyo, the more likely they were to leave after the disasters.

    Among the most common reasons for those who had briefly left Japan were, “Strongly urged by families abroad,” and “Following embassies or employers’ instructions to leave temporarily.”

    Meanwhile, 56 percent of the respondents said they did not leave Tokyo following the disasters, while 5 percent had moved to the Kansai area in southern Japan or other places within the country.

    In terms of the means foreigners used to collect information related to the disasters, 75 percent said they relied on TV broadcasts, 37 percent used the Internet, and only 7 percent read newspapers at the time.

    Among the respondents, 44 percent said they used mobile phones and 28 percent used e-mail as a means to contact relatives and friends immediately after the disasters, though only 51 percent reported the attempt was successful.

    Among the free answer section of the survey, some opinions stressed the need for more accurate and faster information services for foreigners, one explicitly pointing at the fact that “A panic was caused at the time due to a lack of accurate information provided to foreigners overseas.”

    At the same time, the survey also hinted at the need for information provided in easy Japanese, based on the results that while 76 percent of the respondents said they could understand Japanese, when asked if they could understand the language if simple phrases are used, responses increased to 85 percent.

    The survey also showed that 41 percent of the respondents had never experienced earthquakes prior to moving to Japan.
    ENDS
    ==========================
    ORIGINAL JAPANESE:
    東日本大震災:都内外国人、25%が一時帰国 母国の家族ら心配−−都アンケ /東京
    毎日新聞 2012年05月01日 地方版
    http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/20120501ddlk13040130000c.html
    都内在住の外国人に東日本大震災時の行動を尋ねた都のアンケートで、25%が周囲の勧めなどで一時帰国していたことが分かった。地震の直後、家族や友人と連絡がうまく取れた人は半数にとどまり、母国の家族らの心配が大きかったことがうかがえる。
    調査は昨年10〜11月、災害時の外国人への情報提供のあり方を検討する資料にするために実施。169人から回答を得た。41%は日本に住むまで地震に遭った経験がなかった。
    一時帰国の理由は「母国の家族から強く言われた」「在日大使館や職場からの指示」などが多かった。「国内滞在3年未満」が帰国者のほぼ半数を占め、滞在が短い人ほど東京を離れる傾向があった。56%は震災後も転居や帰国をせず、5%は関西などに引っ越していた。
    地震の直後は44%が携帯電話、28%がメールで家族や友人と連絡を取ろうとしたが、「うまく連絡が取れた」と答えたのは51%。震災関連情報は75%がテレビ、37%がインターネットから得ており、新聞は7%にとどまった。自由意見では「海外の外国人に正確な情報が伝わっていないため、パニックが起きた」として、的確で迅速な情報公開を求める声もあった。
    ends

    /////////////////////////////////////

    UPDATE MAY 9, 2012:

    ‘Exodus’ of disaster-panicked foreigners from post-3.11 Japan doesn’t add up

    Mainichi Daily News May 9, 2012, courtesy of MS

    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/features/news/20120509p2a00m0na013000c.html

    Where have all the foreigners gone?

    One year ago — less than two months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and with the Fukushima nuclear crisis in flux — anyone walking the streets of Tokyo might very well have asked that question. With Japan in the teeth of disaster, it seemed as though the country’s foreign population had evaporated, an image reinforced by news footage of gargantuan queues at Narita International Airport check-in counters.

    Some 531,000 foreigners left Japan in the four weeks after the March 11, 2011 disaster, according to a Ministry of Justice announcement of April 15 that year. It was mass panic, a rush for the last lifeboats on the Titanic. The expatriate community had left Japan for dead.

    Or had they?

    Of those 531,000 people who left in the first month, about 302,000 had obtained re-entry permits, suggesting most were at least considering coming back. Furthermore, a look at foreign resident numbers and the job market for foreign talent months after the disaster show that the exodus was in the end more a trickle than a flood, and perhaps only an acceleration of pre-existing trends.

    Certainly in the days after the quake, with a nuclear crisis and all its potential horrors brewing at the Fukushima nuclear plant — about 225 kilometers from the heart of Tokyo — the first reaction of many was to get somewhere else in a hurry. Canadian Jason Yu, a senior IT manager at the Tokyo offices of a European investment bank, says more than half his predominantly foreign staff disappeared soon after the disaster.

    “We had around 120 (workers), and I’d say about 70 left,” he says. “It was really something, because one day they were there, and then they weren’t.”

    According to Yu, amid the hysteric coverage of the nuclear disaster in the Western media and a general sense that the government wasn’t telling the whole story, his firm allowed employees to leave if they didn’t feel safe and return when they were ready. Eventually, of the some 70 who had left — many with families — about 50 returned to their posts. However, “a lot of them moved on” to jobs outside Japan when their contracts ended that summer.

    “That was typical,” says Christine Wright, managing director of Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan, a recruiting firm that also does broad research on employment trends. “There was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction,” where lots of people left, if not Japan, then the Kanto area, and then came back.

    The rush for the exits was not, however, entirely illusory. Hays Japan saw a wave of openings in the “professional contractors” area, which includes IT and other positions where Japanese language proficiency is not necessarily a requirement. With so many foreigners in certain fields having absconded, Wright says some of Hays’ client firms expressed a preference for Japanese candidates with good English skills, as they were seen as more likely to stay long-term. Furthermore, “a lot of roles that can be (filled) by a non-Japanese speaker have been off-shored” to places like Hong Kong and Singapore, she adds.

    So how great was the exodus?

    “When you look at the statistics, the losses weren’t all that huge,” Nana Oishi, associate professor of sociology at Tokyo’s Sophia University, told the Mainichi. According to Oishi, the Ministry of Justice — which administers Japan’s immigration system — has not released how many of the half a million-plus foreigners who left Japan from March 12 to April 8, 2011 have returned. However, what the ministry will say is that the total foreign population in the country fell from 2,134,151 in December 2010, to 2,078,480 by December 2011 — a loss of 55,671 people, or just 2.6 percent.

    Moreover, the loss was not disproportionately greater than those of preceding years. Japan’s foreign population peaked at 2,217,426 in 2008 — the year of the Lehman Shock — and has been in decline ever since, dropping by 31,305 from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009, and by 51,970 in the same period in 2009-2010.

    A closer look at the foreign population by resident status furthermore shows that the decline was far from an across-the-board phenomenon, with some categories even posting significant gains. The number of technical trainees, for example, jumped to 141,994 in December 2011 from 100,008 at the same time the previous year — a 42 percent rise. Permanent residents went from 964,195 to 987,519, up 2.4 percent; investor and business manager visa holders from 10,908 to 11,778, an 8 percent climb; and teacher numbers inched up 0.9 percent, from 10,012 to 10,106.

    Even in categories that saw declining numbers, the justice ministry statistics show a pattern of losses predating 3.11 by years. “Specialist in humanities and international services” visa holder numbers peaked in 2009, and have since been drifting downwards by several hundred annually. The number of foreign engineers, which dropped by 8.5 percent to 42,634 between December 2010 and December 2011, had already fallen from a high of 52,273 in 2008 to 46,592 by the end of 2010. Intra-company transferee numbers — those posted to Japan by their firms — have also been declining since 2008.

    What’s more, according to justice ministry statistics, the inflow of foreign workers has also been in annual decline since a 2004 peak of about 158,900, dropping to some 52,500 by 2010.

    In other words, not all the blame for even the modest drop in the foreign population can be put on disaster panic, as the overall numbers — and those in certain professional categories in particular — had been in decline for some time.

    What the earthquake and the nuclear crisis have done, according to Oishi, is accelerate pre-existing trends. First of all, Oishi and Wright point out, off-shoring of back-office and non-Japanese speaking jobs was already in progress when the disaster hit. Furthermore, there was already employee attrition in some sectors for reasons completely divorced from the disaster. As Jason Yu points out, there were already staff cuts and transfers going on at the investment bank where he works before 3.11 because “it was not a good year” financially, “so you can’t say people left just because of the earthquake.”

    Even the outflow of foreigners with children, which Yu says accounted for a significant portion of those who left his firm, was not all down to the disasters, according to Oishi.

    “When the earthquake happened, that trend accelerated because of the radiation issue,” she says, but she points out that the departure of skilled foreign workers with kids, too, was a pre-existing trend. In a paper published on April 13 in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, Oishi points out that concerns over the quality of Japanese public education and the high cost of international schools — which do not receive government funding — was already pushing skilled foreigners with families out of the country.

    The fear and the airport lines in the weeks after the earthquake and meltdowns were real. Over the long term, however, it can be said that there was no “exodus” of foreigners, but rather a smaller-scale reshuffle of certain types of foreign residents that was sped up by 3.11. “You can’t really say the quake chased away skilled workers,” says Oishi.

    In fact, asked if the disasters had impacted firms’ drive to internationalize their workforces, Hays’ Christine Wright said, “One year on, no.”

    According to Wright, Hays Japan’s business in foreign talent has jumped to “record levels. We’ve got record levels of vacancies, record levels of placements, so our business is performing at the best it’s performed” in the firm’s 11 years in Japan.

    Furthermore, Wright says that the initial post-quake preference for Japanese candidates has weakened and “the market for foreign talent in the future … will continue to increase,” with fluent bilinguals and those capable of filling leadership positions particularly in demand.

    The image of foreigners streaming out of Japan in March and April 2011 was a strong one. Wright says that she was thanked by Japanese associates for staying, and that her business relationships with some clients even improved when it became clear she would not be absconding.

    More than a year on, however, government statistics and employment trends show that the exodus was if not entirely imaginary then at least ephemeral. The reality is, the foreign population remains in the millions, job openings for foreigners and foreigners hoping to fill them remain plentiful, and Japan remains a major destination among the globally mobile. (By Robert Sakai-Irvine, Staff Writer)
    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 52 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 30, 2012

    Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    Novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU, Debito

    Other works/publications by ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 30, 2012

    Hello Blog. May 2012 is a rather special one, as Debito.org will be turning fifteen since it started back in 1997, and the Japan Times Community Page will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary. For the latter, I’ll be doing double-duty this month, as the page’s columnist and perhaps most frequent contributor (about a sixth of their articles are mine), I’ve been asked to offer (with a couple of other writers) a brief perspective on what I think about the page (good stuff, of course).

    Now for this month’s Newsletter:

    /////////////////////////////////////////////
    Table of Contents:

    CAUSES TO CHEER
    1) Debito writes the Hokkaido Section in FODOR’S Guidebook on Japan, 20th Edition, out now
    2) Japan Times Community Page 10th Anniversary: Vote for your favorite article at JT by May 5
    3) JT Community Page 10th Anniversary: Write a Haiku, win a copy of Debito’s HANDBOOK

    WEIRD OUTCOMES UNDER JAPAN’S RACIALIZATION PARADIGMS
    4) JDG on self-appointed Hanami Vigilantes in Osaka harassing NJ
    5) Tsukuba City’s resolution against NJ suffrage passed in 2010, a retrospective in the wake of alarmism
    6) Mainichi: JHS teacher arrested for defrauding insurance companies by repeatedly claiming his luggage was stolen by foreigners!
    7) Bryant in UCLA Law Review on oppressiveness of Family Registry (koseki) and Household Registry (juuminhyou)
    8 ) Cracked.com: Racialized characters in Japanese video games
    9) Yomiuri: J population falls record 259,000 in 2011 (as does NJ pop.); Keidanren think tank sees ROK surpassing J GDP by 2030

    … and finally…

    10) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 50, April 3, 2012: Donald Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths
    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    By ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, wwww.debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito)
    Freely Forwardable

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    CAUSES TO CHEER

    1) Debito writes the Hokkaido Section in FODOR’S Guidebook on Japan, 20th Edition, out now

    I’m happy to announce that more than a year after writing my piece within (and what with major disasters in Japan naturally setting back the publication date), FODOR’S has just released their JAPAN Guide, 20th Edition (of which I got a copy yesterday, thanks!).

    I was privileged to be allowed to write their Section on Hokkaido, so if you can’t get enough of my writing, get yourself a copy!

    Scans of the cover, Table of Contents, and my opening essay on what’s so nice about Hokkaido are at the link below. Enjoy!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10137

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) Japan Times Community Page 10th Anniversary: Vote for your favorite article at JT by May 5

    SPECIAL NOTICE: The JT Community Page: A decade serving the community

    JT: On May 8, the Japan Times will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Community pages, which have been providing news, analysis and opinion by, for and about the foreign community in Japan since May 9, 2002. To mark the occasion, we are asking readers to pick their favorite Zeit Gist article of the past decade, be it a memorable scoop, informative feature or scathing critique.

    In return, The Japan Times is offering readers the chance to win a B4-size poster (above) illustrated by longtime Community artist Chris Mackenzie.

    Alternatively, winners can opt for one of 10 copies of “3.11: One Year On,” a 64-page Japan Times Special Report bringing together JT articles from the past year about the triple disasters in Tohoku and their aftermath. Please state your preference on the form below. This offer ends at 5 p.m. JST on Friday, May 5.

    The following are the Community editor’s picks of just some of the standout Zeit Gist articles of the last decade. Some were chosen because they help tell the story of of the last 10 years in Japan, others because the articles proved to be extremely popular – and in some cases simply because they are great reads.

    COMMENT: Short list of the editor’s picks at
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/community-anniversary.html
    Debito has two of those articles listed, “Punishing foreigners, exonerating Japanese” (on skewed criminal jurisprudence by nationality), and “Demise of crime magazine historic” (on the GAIJIN HANZAI magazine and how we not only got it off the shelves, but also helped drive the slimy publisher bankrupt). Or you can see all the Community Page articles I’ve written, with one-line synopses, at
    http://www.debito.org/publications.html#JOURNALISTIC

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    3) JT Community Page 10th Anniversary: Write a Haiku, win a copy of Debito’s HANDBOOK

    As I wrote last week, next week heralds a celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the Japan Times’ Tuesday Community Page. As I’ve written about 100 articles and JBC columns for it so far, I’ll be doing double duty next week with two articles, one in commemoration, and one a regular JBC column (more on the topic shortly before publication).

    This week, however, in anticipation, the JT announced that it would be offering FIVE free copies of Akira Higuchi and Arudou Debito’s bilingual HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS (more on it at http://www.debito.org/handbook.html), which has been a solid and steady seller, what with all the information about getting the right visa, getting a steady job, getting settled for a permanent life in Japan, and dealing with problems and issues that may come up.

    That’s right, five free copies of HANDBOOK, and all you have to do is write a Haiku in English about Japan — “the good, the bad and the ugly”. Some examples by Zeit Gist contributor Colin Jones this week include:

    Random card checking
    Fingerprints at the airport
    Yokoso Japan!

    Non-Japanese folk
    Have constitutional rights
    Except when they don’t

    Barred from the hot springs
    for invisible tattoo
    It says “foreigner”

    Now, those are my kinda Haiku. And no doubt we’ll have some anti-Debito ones too (taste the irony of being rewarded by the very person you’re dissing!). Go for it! Submit via:
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/community-anniversary.html

    Haiku Debito.org Readers have already submitted to the blog for fun:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=10130

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    WEIRD OUTCOMES UNDER JAPAN’S RACIALIZATION PARADIGMS

    4) JDG on self-appointed Hanami Vigilantes in Osaka harassing NJ

    JDG: On Sunday (8th April) I went via Hankyu Kurakuenguchi station to Shukugawa, where along the river bank many people enjoy hanami every year. It is (apparently) a very highly rated location on a national scale.

    I have been meny years with Japanese friends, and have never had a problem. However, this was the first year that I went early and alone in order to secure a nice spot. Shukugawa has rules on it’s website (such as no ‘reserving’ of a spot with unattended blue sheets, and you must not enter the roped off areas around the tree roots), which I read in advance.

    I arrived at 10.30 am, and immediately I found a nice spot and stopped, then some old guy started hassling me to move on, saying that I wasn’t allowed to stop there. I told him to shut up, and then ignored him (thinking he was just some grumpy old codger), but as I was setting out my sheet and blanket, four more old guys came along to join him, and tried telling me that the place I was in was off limits. I pointed to the Japanese groups set up all around me, and asked ‘What about them?’, but the old guys just ignored my question, and told me that they would call the police if I tried to give them any trouble.

    I know I wasn’t breaking any of Shukugawa’s rules, so I just ignored them and waited for the rest of my group to arrive. For the next hour the group of five old guys stood over me, coming over every 5 minutes to ask me if I was going to move on, or asking me if I didn’t think that I was selfish by taking up so much room (one blue sheet), and even taking my photo twice. I told them that it was against the law to take my photo without my permission…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10091

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) Tsukuba City’s resolution against NJ suffrage passed in 2010, a retrospective in the wake of alarmism

    I’ve sat on this for more than a year. Now that the whole debate on “granting foreigners suffrage will mean the end of Japan” has probably died down a bit, it’s time that we look back on what happened then, and on the aftermath wrought by people losing their heads.

    After the Democratic Party of Japan came to power in 2009, after decades of mostly unbroken and corrupt Liberal Democratic Party rule, there was hope for some new inclusive paradigms vis-a-vis NJ in Japan, one of their smaller party planks was granting NJ (undecided whether NJ would be Permanent Resident or Zainichi Special Permanent Resident) the right to vote in local elections (like other countries do). This, alas, occasioned much protest and alarmist doomsaying about how Japanese society would be ruined by ever enfranchising potentially disloyal foreigners (“They’d concentrate in parts of Japan and secede to China!”, “Kim Jong-Il will now have influence over Japan!”), and suddenly we had regional governments and prefectures passing petitions (seigan) stating that they formally oppose ever giving suffrage to foreigners.

    The Tsukuba City Council was no exception, even though Tsukuba in itself is an exceptional city. It has a major international university, a higher-than-average concentration of NJ researchers and academics, a centrally-planned modern showcase living grid with advanced communication networks, and one of Japan’s two foreign-born naturalized citizens (Jon Heese; the other city is Inuyama’s Anthony Bianchi) elected to its city council. Yet Tsukuba, a city designed to be one of those international communities within Japan, was given in December 2010 a petition of NJ suffrage opposition to consider signing and sending off to the DPJ Cabinet. Here’s the draft:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8459

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    6) Mainichi: JHS teacher arrested for defrauding insurance companies by repeatedly claiming his luggage was stolen by foreigners!

    Chalk this one up to the idiocracy that springs up whenever unquestioned hegemonic discourse (i.e., “foreigners commit crime”) in a society leads to too much giving the benefit of the doubt. We have some Japanese guy (a junior high school teacher, no less) repeatedly “losing” his luggage while traveling and then successfully getting insurance paid out on it due to claims of “thefts by foreigners”. (The idiot did it with enough frequency that cops became suspicious because they remembered his claims.)

    Frauds and blaming foreigners are nothing new. I wrote a whole Japan Times column in 2007 on how foreigners have been targets of a “Blame Game” for many years now. But often it goes beyond comical. We have a trucker in 2004 who overslept his appointment and then formally blamed it on being kidnapped by foreigners. We have a bosozoku biker gang that same year who killed somebody and tried to blame it on a foreign gang. And we have murder suspects in 2006 who tried to blame a homicide on a lurking “blond man” (in a city with very few foreigners to boot).

    Clearly the “foreign crime wave” which was fabricated by Tokyo Gov. Ishihara from 2000 has cast a long shadow. As submitter Becky says, “No wonder they get microaggressive, look at all the crime we commit!”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10088

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    7) Bryant in UCLA Law Review on oppressiveness of Family Registry (koseki) and Household Registry (juuminhyou)

    An excellent paper (linked below) is Taimie Bryant, “For the Sake of the Country, for the Sake of the Family: The Oppressive Impact of Family Registration on Women and Minorities in Japan” (39 UCLA Law Review Rev. 1991-1992), with just about everything you need to know about the subtle (but very definite) “othering” processes found in Japan’s Family Registry (koseki) and Household Registry (juuminhyou) Systems. It gives the history of each (the koseki’s historical role in rooting out Christians, the juuminhyou’s role in census taking and tracking people), and then gives us some vagaries that arise from it:

    1) The doctor who temporarily lost his license to practice medicine because he offered pregnant women an alternate means to register their children rather than have them aborted to avoid the shame and stigma of illegitimacy.
    2) The woman professor who wished to continue using her maiden name professionally after marriage despite her university telling her that she could only be identified as per her husband’s koseki.
    3) The women who sued Nissan for discrimination because they were denied standard corporate allowances just because as women they were not registered as “head of household” (setai nushi).

    It also very neatly unpacks:
    1) the genealogical tracing of family for generations by corporations and prospective marriage families to see if the person was a Burakumin, or had aberrant behavior from other family members,
    2) the hierarchical structure of Japan as a remnant of the prewar ie seido and how upper-class family values and structures were officially foisted upon the rest of Japanese society,
    3) the power of the normalization of labeling, and how the state’s attitudes towards anti-individualism (as these are dossiers on the family, not just the individual) as seen in this system creates a socially-constructed reality of constant subordination,
    4) the difficulty in fighting or reforming this system because of its normalization (although people have been trying for generations), as it is difficult to prove discriminatory intent of a system with no targetable individual discriminator (and with a plausible deniability of unintended consequences).
    5) How ethnic minorities in Japan are excluded and invisible because they simply aren’t listed as “spouse” or even “resident” on either form (Debito.org has talked about this at length in the past).

    As an aside, one game played under this system same-sex couples get linked to one another for inheritance and other family-dependent purposes. Same-sex marriage is not allowed in Japan. However, people CAN adopt each other, and those ties are just about as dissoluble as a marriage.

    This is one other (unmentioned, of course) reason why I believe Donald Keene recently naturalized. If he remained a foreigner in Japan, he could be adopted, but his name would not be listed properly on the koseki and juuminhyou and no rights or benefits would accrue either way. However, if his partner adopts him after he becomes a Japanese citizen, then all the benefits accrue. Good for Don, of course (and my beef, remember, is not with him making these life choices, which he should do, but with him portraying himself as somehow morally superior to other NJ, something the Japanese public, according to a recent fawning Japan Times article, seems to buy into). But wouldn’t it be nice if Don, who seems to be speaking a lot in public these days about how things aren’t to his liking, would also speak out about these vagaries of the Family Registry System?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10095

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    8 ) Cracked.com: Racialized characters in Japanese video games

    As Japan switches its economic clout into more “soft power” issues (i.e., selling its culture instead of its hardware; cf. METI’s promotion of “Cool Japan”), we are seeing instances of where Japan’s conceits and “blind spots” (i.e., a lack of cultural sensitivity towards, for example, minorities both in Japanese society and in other societies) have seeped into its output, with imperfect filters in place.

    Take for example one of my favorite sites for procrastination and indulging in hilarious writing: Cracked.com. They have a pretty good research staff, and have dug up several instances of Japanese video games (since Japan dominates the industry) that are, as they put it, “politically incorrect” (today’s word for “racist”, since you can still be “politically incorrect” yet use it as a source of, say, humor; but it’s still the same “othering”, racializing, and subordinating process). We have examples of:

    Gay characters in the Sega’s VENDETTA street-fighting game the dry-hump everything as a weapon, and in BARE KNUCKLE 3 that mince about flamingly etc. (these were left in the Japanese version but removed from the overseas versions and in subsequent versions).
    Blackface and n*gger-lipped characters in Nintendo’s SQUARE NO TOM SAWYER game (which never got released in the US; wonder why).
    GEKISHA BOY, where street-animal African-Americans come in three types: “street pimp, prostitute, and Michael Jackson”.
    Sega’s DJ BOY, which features a stereotypical Big Black Mama shooting fireballs out of her anus.

    And plenty more. As Cracked.com demonstrates, the Japanese market generally keeps these (and other) stereotypes and conceits alive and well (as if Japan doesn’t need to worry about how they affect public perceptions of minorities in Japan), while for overseas markets things get sanitized (or not, occasioning protests and backpedaling) when Japanese sellers suddenly develop a “sensitivity”.

    If Japan really wants to keep its cultural exports viable, maybe it should attempt understand how other people anywhere, including within Japan, might feel about being represented in such a fashion. Or, if stereotyping is used as a source of humor, allow for everyone to be “fair game” (which, I have argued before, doesn’t happen enough in Japan; there is certainly ample Japanese protest when Japanese get similarly stereotyped).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9863

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    9) Yomiuri: J population falls record 259,000 in 2011 (as does NJ pop.); Keidanren think tank sees ROK surpassing J GDP by 2030

    Here are two sobering articles regarding Japan’s unsustainability. The first indicates that Japan’s population decrease is, as predicted, accelerating, dropping by a record quarter-million in 2011 alone. Now, let’s acknowledge the caveats: This may be a blip due to the horrendous year that 2011 was for Japan. However, the death toll from the triple disasters is only estimated (highball) at around 20,000, less than a tenth of the overall fall in Japanese population. Moreover, if people say that this is due to people fleeing the country (meaning they’ll come back when the coast is clear, i.e., the fall is but temporary), okay, but then, I can’t help but point out, it’s clear the preponderance of the “flyjin” phenomenon is, once again, not due to NJ fleeing. So I’m not so sure that “fleeing” is the cause either. I’ll just chalk this development as more evidence of Japan’s unsustainability without immigration.

    The second article is, I believe, more alarmist and latently jingoistic — appealing to nationalism to get Japan to pull its socks up. A think tank affiliated with Keidanren (and we know how influential they are in the public policy realm — through them we got our new NJ cheap labor visa regimes from 1990 onwards) is saying that, horrors, Japan will not only drop in the world rankings (which we’ve anticipated for quite a while now due to demographics), THEY’LL FALL BEHIND SOUTH KOREA!! Why South Korea (as opposed to, say, Spain)? Because that would be a blow to national pride — a former colony and perpetual rival that we’ve always felt superior to (and who can apparently only use but the simplest cameras) shaming us in the world economy rankings!

    Whether or not these predictions come true is irrelevant (after all, as Debito.org Reader Charuzu has pointed out in comments elsewhere, if and when the ROK and the DPRK reunify the costs will be horrendous) — if you don’t want this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy and have the Koreans lord it over us, DO SOMETHING!!, is basically the underlying call. After all, we’ve had warnings for well over a decade now that Japan’s population is going to fall and cause economic stagnation, and that didn’t change public policy all that much. It seems that only appeals to nationalism (and this time, targeting foreigners outside Japan, not within, as the latter strategy merely eliminated NJ labor and immigration as a possible solution), not appeals to logic, will pull Japan out of an economic nosedive.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=10111

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally…

    10) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 50, April 3, 2012: Donald Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths

    The Japan Times Tuesday, April 3, 2012
    JUST BE CAUSE Column 50
    Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths
    (Original title: ”Let’s put some myths to rest”)
    By ARUDOU, Debito
    Courtesy of http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120403ad.html
    Version with comments and links to sources at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=10081

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    That’s all for this month! Thanks for reading!
    ARUDOU, Debito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 30, 2012 ENDS

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    Japan Times Community Page 10th Anniversary: Vote for your favorite article at JT by May 5

    Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    Novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. Let me commemorate a special event. The Japan Times Community Page, a forum for NJ issues etc. that comes out every Tuesday, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary next month. They are having a retrospective and competition (with prizes) for choosing the best article (I have had the honor of contributing about a hundred so far), and you can vote online at the JT from the link and article below.

    ===========================

    A decade serving the community
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/community-anniversary.html
    On May 8, the Japan Times will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Community pages, which have been providing news, analysis and opinion by, for and about the foreign community in Japan since May 9, 2002. To mark the occasion, we are asking readers to pick their favorite Zeit Gist article of the past decade, be it a memorable scoop, informative feature or scathing critique.

    In return, The Japan Times is offering readers the chance to win a B4-size poster (above) illustrated by longtime Community artist Chris Mackenzie.

    Alternatively, winners can opt for one of 10 copies of “3.11: One Year On,” a 64-page Japan Times Special Report bringing together JT articles from the past year about the triple disasters in Tohoku and their aftermath. Please state your preference on the form below. This offer ends at 5 p.m. JST on Friday, May 5.

    The following are the Community editor’s picks of just some of the standout Zeit Gist articles of the last decade. Some were chosen because they help tell the story of of the last 10 years in Japan, others because the articles proved to be extremely popular – and in some cases simply because they are great reads.

    Please feel free to pick another story from among the close to 500 Zeit Gists

    ===========================

    Short list of the editor’s picks at
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/community-anniversary.html

    Debito has two of those articles listed, “Punishing foreigners, exonerating Japanese” (on skewed criminal jurisprudence by nationality), and “Demise of crime magazine historic” (on the GAIJIN HANZAI magazine and how we not only got it off the shelves, but also helped drive the slimy publisher bankrupt). Or you can see titles and links to all the Community Page articles I’ve ever written, with one-line synopses, at http://www.debito.org/publications.html#JOURNALISTIC

    (The one I think I’m most proud of, for the record, is “FORENSIC SCIENCE FICTION:  Bad science and racism underpin police policy” (January 13, 2004))

    I will also be doing double-time next month when, in addition to my regular column, I’ll be offering a 600-word retrospective as the Community Page columnist and contributor from the beginning.

    Anyway, The Community Page has been a good thing, giving not only a sense of NJ community but also of legacy, so let’s give it due commemoration. Thanks as always for reading both here and there. Arudou Debito

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    JDG on self-appointed Hanami Vigilantes in Osaka harassing NJ

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    Novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  As spring gets underway in the population centers of Japan and people go out partying under the cherry trees, here’s a rather unpleasant development that JDG reports:  anti-gaijin vigilantes, who take it upon themselves to police people they suspect of potential unsavory behavior (in a reportedly less than micro-agressive manner) under rules they purport to know.

    This isn’t the first time, of course, Debito.org has heard about anti-NJ vigilanteism in bored power-hungry Japanese ojisan.  There is the officially-sanctioned stuff (“Japan Times: NPA to entrust neighborhood assoc. with more policing powers, spy cameras” Debito.org July 1, 2009), and even the Chounaikai neighborhood associations (historically used to help the prewar Kenpeitai Thought Police increase their snooping abilities). But there are also “citizens’ groups” (see “TV Asahi ‘Super Morning’ rupo re Shibuya Center Gai citizen patrols harassing buskers, NJ“, Debito.org January 10, 2011) and other busybodies interfering with and taking nosey pictures of NJ going about their business in public (ending up as fodder in places like Gaijin Hanzai Magazine). Then there’s the quick mobilization of society whenever NJ are around anyway (as in the Hokkaido G8 Summit of 2008, where “local residents” and “advisors” hundreds of kilometers away were summoned to defend Japan from within (see The Japan Times “SUMMIT WICKED THIS WAY COMES, The G8 Summit gives nothing back, brings out Japan’s bad habits”, April 22, 2008, where “3000 amateur “local residents” and “neighborhood associations” in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, [were called upon] to “watch for suspicious people” around “stations and important facilities”).

    Golly, compared to this, self-appointed hanami police look like nothing. Except when you fall under their dragnet for harassment just for sitting on a blue tarp while foreign. Is this happening to anyone else? Arudou Debito

    //////////////////////////////////////////

    April 10, 2012

    Hi Debito, Hope you are well. Just wanted to share this story with you, maybe some of your readers have had similar experiences.

    On Sunday (8th April) I went via Hankyu Kurakuenguchi station to Shukugawa, where along the river bank many people enjoy hanami every year. It is (apparently) a very highly rated location on a national scale.

    I have been meny years with Japanese friends, and have never had a problem. However, this was the first year that I went early and alone in order to secure a nice spot. Shukugawa has rules on it’s website (such as no ‘reserving’ of a spot with unattended blue sheets, and you must not enter the roped off areas around the tree roots), which I read in advance.

    I arrived at 10.30 am, and immediately I found a nice spot and stopped, then some old guy started hassling me to move on, saying that I wasn’t allowed to stop there. I told him to shut up, and then ignored him (thinking he was just some grumpy old codger), but as I was setting out my sheet and blanket, four more old guys came along to join him, and tried telling me that the place I was in was off limits. I pointed to the Japanese groups set up all around me, and asked ‘What about them?’, but the old guys just ignored my question, and told me that they would call the police if I tried to give them any trouble.

    I know I wasn’t breaking any of Shukugawa’s rules, so I just ignored them and waited for the rest of my group to arrive. For the next hour the group of five old guys stood over me, coming over every 5 minutes to ask me if I was going to move on, or asking me if I didn’t think that I was selfish by taking up so much room (one blue sheet), and even taking my photo twice. I told them that it was against the law to take my photo without my permission. I took theirs only after that (see attached photo).


    When my NJ and Japanese friends turned up, the old guys took off pretty sharpish.

    I realize that this is not an earth-shattering case of discrimination, but I think it is important because:

    a) I wasn’t breaking any rules. By taking my photo, the old guys are breaking the law.
    b) I don’t like unelected volunteer jobsworths bullying people around.

    I want to make sure that other NJ know their rights when confronted by old gits like this. Sincerely, JDG

    ENDS

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    Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Food, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 33 Comments »

    Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 50, April 3, 2012: Donald Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths

    Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    Novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    justbecauseicon.jpg

    The Japan Times Tuesday, April 3, 2012
    JUST BE CAUSE Column 50
    Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths
    (Original title:  “Let’s put some myths to rest”)
    By ARUDOU, DEBITO
    Courtesy of http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120403ad.html

    Congratulations to Donald Keene, who was granted Japanese citizenship last month with great media fanfare. At 89 years young and after a lifetime contributing to world scholarship on Japan, he truly deserves it.

    Unfortunately, while receiving all the kudos, Keene demonstrated that he had fallen for two of Japan’s media-manufactured myths about non-Japanese (NJ) residents: 1) that they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in Japan, and 2) that they fled Japan (as “flyjin”) in disproportionate numbers due to the Tohoku disasters.

    In media reports, both when he applied for citizenship last November and when he got it on March 7, Keene said repeatedly that he was naturalizing to “encourage,” “endure hardships” and “show solidarity” with the Japanese people as a Japanese — unlike, the media also repeatedly reported him as saying, the large number of foreigners who left Japan after the earthquakes.

    He also joshed at a March 7 press conference, quote, “As a Japanese, I swear not to commit any crimes.”

    Very funny. You know a public discourse has become hegemonic when you can joke about it. But when you have an iconic (former) NJ promoting falsehoods about NJ, we need to put them to rest.

    First, about foreign crime: As has been discussed in these pages before (Zeit Gist, Feb. 20, 2007, Oct. 7, 2003, and Oct. 4, 2002), the National Police Agency has performed all kinds of statistical magic to inflate NJ crime figures. Hence the rise of foreign crime over the past decade has been, to put it mildly, disproportionately reported in both scope and degree. As always, 99 percent of crime in Japan is committed by Japanese.

    Even more so now. According to the most recent NPA figures (www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai/H23_Z_RAINICHI_ZANTEI.pdf), foreign crime has dropped every year without pause since its peak in 2005. In fact, by more than half — so precipitously that the NPA includes crime numbers from 1982 (when there were far fewer NJ here anyway) to depict some kind of comparative rise.

    Last year was no different, with crime falling by double-digit percentages in every major category, to below levels last seen in 1993! This matters because Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara infamously predicted in 2000 that in the event of a natural disaster (and 2011 had at least two), “bad foreigners” would riot and need rounding up by the Self-Defense Forces.

    Clearly none of that happened. Yet the public discourse of NJ as criminal, as promoted by grumpy (or acidulously jokey) geriatrics, hasn’t changed.

    Now let’s look at the renewed flyjin discourse, since Keene’s self-promotion as a paragon of virtue now threatens to similarly tar NJ as deserters.

    I have talked about flyjin before (Just Be Cause, May 3, 2011), essentially arguing, “So what if NJ left? It’s not as if they were made to feel welcome and a part of Japan.”

    But now that last year’s statistics are in we need an update — because it’s clear the whole flyjin phenomenon was a myth.

    According to the Ministry of Justice (www.moj.go.jp/content/000094842.pdf), the NJ population registered with the government (so as to leave out NJ tourists, who must depart within three months anyway) dropped for the third straight year in 2011, by 55,671 souls, or 2.6 percent. This is little different than 2010’s drop of 51,970, or 2.4 percent — meaning this is an ongoing trend little changed by the disasters.

    Moreover, look at the largest drop in terms of nationality: Brazilians, falling by nearly 9 percent, for more than a third of the total. Where are Brazilians clustered? Around Nagoya, nowhere near the disaster areas.

    The point is, NJ migration (in a science riddled with caveats and complications) was happening anyway for two reasons unrelated to Tohoku: 1) because NJ are the first downsized whenever our labor market goes sour, and 2) because it is standard operating practice within Japan’s visa regimes to boot out unwanted NJ workers (JBC, March 6, 2012, and April 7, 2009).

    Moreover, if this column does what the Japanese media steadfastly refuses to do (that is, compare Japanese with NJ numbers), we can see that according to the government Statistics Bureau (www.stat.go.jp/data/jinsui/pdf/201203.pdf), the numbers of “Japanese flyjin” last year (that is, those who actually left the country, as opposed to the indubitably higher numbers who moved away from the danger zones domestically) also increased: A net 24,889 Japanese left Japan in March and April 2011 alone.

    And, as a brief but indicative tangent, consider the comparative migration patterns of “Japanese flyjin” during Thailand’s disastrous floods last October. Not only did Japanese not remain in Thailand “in solidarity,” they also took Thai workers with them (on one-time temporary six-month visas, of course) so as not to disrupt Japanese factory production schedules.

    The hypocrisy is palpable. And from what I have seen, the Thai media did not bash either the Japanese fleers or the Thai temps as deserters.

    The point is, Keene has made his life one of careful, disciplined research, and he should have tapped this wealth of knowledge and reactivated his critical faculties before shooting off his mouth like this.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is not to impugn Keene’s life choices — he can live where he likes and take out whatever citizenship he desires. But he should not be denigrating other people’s complex and personal life decisions (many made with careers to consider and families in tow) based upon flawed paradigms about NJ — paradigms fabricated by a sensationalist media and grounded in a discourse of prejudice and hypocrisy.

    If he does, he should be called out on it like anyone else. And in that spirit, let’s consider a few inconsistencies:

    Keene has said that he wants to live out his remaining years in Japan out of respect to the “resilient spirit of the Japanese people in a traumatic situation.” However, Kyodo reported on March 9 that this move was “partly because travel (between his homes in America and Japan) had become physically demanding.” At his advanced age, that’s understandable. But why so much public self-hugging for naturalizing?

    Moreover, what sort of support in “solidarity” for the Tohoku victims will Keene be involved in? The Yomiuri on March 9 notes that this month he’s traveling by ship to India and Africa for vacation. As soon as he gets back, he said, “I’ll continue to work more diligently in a suitably Japanese way. I also want to contribute to areas affected by the disaster.”

    Like how? Collecting and driving supplies up to Fukushima? Volunteering to help out at gymnasiums sheltering displaced people? Organizing international fund drives? Moving rubble around, as so many NJ residents who did not “flee Japan” have already done?

    Here’s one thing Keene could do: Publicly retract his denigrating statements with apologies, and acknowledge the good that NJ have done for Japan all along — working here for decades, paying taxes, raising families, and living lives that fly in the face of the hegemonic yet unquestioned discourse that “NJ disrupt Japanese society.”

    People who rise to mythical status should not perpetuate myths themselves. For someone who’s spent his life helping the outside world understand Japan, it’s ignominious indeed that Keene would now do the opposite for outsiders in Japan.

    ======================

    Debito Arudou’s latest book is “In Appropriate” (www.debito.org/inappropriate.html) Twitter arudoudebito. Discussions on this issue on Debito.org at debito.org/?p=10017. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments on this issue to community@japantimes.co.jp
    ENDS

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    Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Social Science, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, NJ legacies | 31 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 5, 2012

    Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 5, 2012

    Hi Newsletter Readers. Before I begin, let me give you as always a sneak preview of my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column 49, coming out March 6, 2012 (tomorrow), on how the GOJ’s visa regimes in fact constitute an anti-immigration policy:

    ======== PREVIEW BEGINS ============
    WHAT’S THE POINT OF A VISA “POINTS SYSTEM”? (tentative title)

    Last December, the Japanese government announced that a new visa regime with a “points system” would be introduced this spring.

    It is designed to attract 2,000 non-Japanese (NJ) with a “high degree of capability” (koudo jinzai), meaning people with high salaries, impeccable educational and vocational pedigrees, specialized technical knowledge and excellent managerial/administrative skills […]

    Sweet. But then comes the fine print. You must get 70 points on the Justice Ministry’s qualifying scale (see http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000083223.pdf). And it’s tough, really tough. […]

    Interesting is how low Japanese language ability is weighted: only 10 points — in a “bonus” category. One would have assumed that people communicative in Japan’s lingua franca would be highly prized.

    However, I would argue the opposite: Crowds of NJ completely fluent in Japanese are exactly what the government does NOT want. Visa regimes with illiterate foreigners facing insurmountable hurdles are what maintain Japan’s revolving-door labor market.

    For example, consider 2008’s visa program to import elderly-care nurses from the Philippines and Indonesia…
    ========== PREVIEW ENDS ============

    Read the rest tomorrow in the Japan Times! Now on with the Newsletter:

    Table of Contents:
    /////////////////////////////////////////

    HISTORICAL WRONGS, ABERRATIONS, AND AMNESIA
    1) Levin: J citizens of empire stripped of Japanese nationality in 1952, made into Zainichi by bureaucratic fiat — by a simple MOJ office circular (kairan)!
    2) Mainichi and JT: Nagoya mayor Kawamura repeatedly denies Nanjing Massacre, joins ranks of revisionist J politicians
    3) Mainichi/Kyodo: NJ crime down again, but once again only reported in English and apparently not in J Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, or Sankei
    4) Mainichi: NHK Press publishes book about NJ “underground reality” (e.g., prostitution, fake marriages and citizenships, profiteering). Contrast with interview with freewheeling cannibal Sagawa Issei.

    BLOWBACK
    5) Yomiuri: Language hurdle trips up Indonesian nurses in 4-year-old GOJ EPA program, and they’re leaving. By design, methinks.
    6) Asahi: Registered NJ population drops again in 2010, GOJ to institute policy of “points system” for future NJ visas this Spring
    7) Mainichi: NJ held by immigration sharply down after reviewing rules
    8 ) Jeff Smith on Yahoo Japan auctioneer denying foreign bidders, and what he did about it

    … and finally…
    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column #48: “These are a few of my favorite things about Japan”, Feb. 7, 2012
    /////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org)
    RSS and biweekly blog updates at www.debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    HISTORICAL WRONGS, ABERRATIONS, AND AMNESIA

    1) Levin: J citizens of empire stripped of Japanese nationality in 1952, made into Zainichi by bureaucratic fiat — by a simple MOJ office circular (kairan)!

    While doing research two days ago, I ran across this curious footnote in journal article (Levin, Mark, “Essential Commodities and Racial Justice”; Journal of International Law and Politics (NYU, Winter 2001) 33:419, at 500, footnote 288), which tells us a lot of something quite remarkable about how much extra-parliamentary legislative power is invested in Japan’s bureaucracy: The power to strip entire peoples of their Japanese citizenship (despite their colonial contributions and experience, including fighting and dying in the Imperial Army) by fiat. By kairan, even.

    Levin: The involuntary de-naturalization [of hundreds of thousands of Koreans and Taiwanese persons resident in Japan] was accomplished by administrative fiat, interpreting the Nationality Lw under an implicit association with the 1951 Peace Treaty between Japan and the Allied Powers. “In 1952, nine days before the Peace Treaty came into force, the Director-General of the Civil Affairs Bureau in the Ministry of Justice issued a Circular Notice [an internal government document] to the officials concerned, announcing that all Koreans, including those residing in Japan, were to lose their Japanese nationality.” … Although Japanese courts, including the Supreme Court, have consistently upheld the legality of this act, Iwasawa persuasively argues that the court rulings were analytically unsound, that Japan’s action violated international standards regarding nationality, and that the action was unconstitutional because the act “runs counter to Article 10 of the Constitution, which provides, ‘The conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by hōritsu [statutes].’ The question should have been settled by a statute enacted by the Diet.”

    This degree of extralegal power — to the point of a simple office memo to disenfranchise for generations an entire minority in Japan — shows just how abusive and capricious Japan’s mandarins can be — and the judiciary will back them up.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9991

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    2) Mainichi and JT: Nagoya mayor Kawamura repeatedly denies Nanjing Massacre, joins ranks of revisionist J politicians

    Here’s another Japanese politician, Nagoya Mayor Kawamura Takashi, playing to type (as in, playing to a Rightist historical revisionist base) by reportedly denying that the Nanjing Massacre in WWII China ever took place. He’s not alone. The Japan Times article below is particularly good, as it includes other deniers and their dates in Japan’s political discourse, showing there is a longstanding arc to this discourse.

    There may be a political dimension. As a commenter mailed me, “Because I have lived in Nagoya for over 20 years, Mayor Kawamura’s atrocious lack of tact really makes me cringe. We’ve seen it before with these old boys. They reach a certain age and feel they can afford to throw caution to the wind. However, there may be some background here that isn’t being aired. The Chinese apparently had their sites on a prime piece of land near Nagoya Castle and wanted to build a consulate or trade related facility of some kind. There is local opposition. So it’s possible that the Mayor deliberately wanted to piss them off.” Interesting if true. Let’s have that investigated.

    A little academic expostulating, if I may: One of the things that Japan has never undergone (as opposed to, say, Germany) is a postwar examination of its colonialist/imperialist past, as Postcolonialism as an analytical paradigm seems to have passed Japanese academia by (as have many rigorous intellectual disciplines, in favor of, say, the unscientific pseudo-religion that is Nihonjinron). Even proponent Edward Said was blind to it, by binding us to an East-West divide when encapsulating his theory of lack of minority voices in the world’s historical discourse as “Orientalism”, meaning Japan became an “Oriental” country (as opposed to a fellow colonial empire builder) and thus immune to the analysis. Partially because of this, Japan lacks the historical conversation (and is ignored overseas for not undertaking it) that would include and incorporate the minority voices of “sangokujin” (i.e., the former peoples of empire) et.al as part of the domestic discourse.

    And this is one reason why fatheads like Kawamura are able to keep on reopening old wounds and refuse to face the dark side of Japan’s history — a history which, if an honest accounting of history is done everywhere, every country has.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9977

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    3) Mainichi/Kyodo: NJ crime down again, but once again only reported in English and apparently not in J Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, or Sankei

    Here we have the biannual report on NJ crime, as always used to justify further prevention and crackdowns on NJ as potential criminals (justifying all manner of NPA budgets and racial profiling). But the news this time is good, in that NJ crime is down. Significantly so.

    Good. But here’s the thing: If it’s bad news (i.e., foreign crime goes up), then it gets splashed all over the place and a media panic ensues about a reemergent foreign crime wave. However, when is good news (i.e., foreign crime goes down), one of three things happen:

    1) The Japanese police find some way to portray it as a rise,
    2) The Japanese media find some way to headline it as a rise (while even, famously, depicting it as a fall in the English headline),
    3) They ignore it completely. Foreigners can only ever be news if they’re criminals.

    To support this last assertion, look how the above article was featured in the Mainichi online only in English, as a copy of a Kyodo wire. And doing a Google news search in Japanese, (search terms gaikokujin hanzai and the newspaper title), I could not find a similar article on this news on the Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, or Sankei Shimbun sites (search as of February 23, 2012).

    Instead, you get Japanese sites, for example Zakzak News below, concurrently and ironically talking about how dangerous Japanese society has become due to foreign crime (despite it going down), and saying how having a “kokumin bangou” to identify all citizens by number is now indispensable (since, as Zakzak says below, foreigners now speak Japanese!!). Fine, have that conversation if you want, but don’t blame it on foreign crime.

    This perpetual criminalization of foreigners in Japan is nothing short of hate speech. On an official scale. And you get a regular fit of it twice a year regardless of what NJ residents do (or don’t do).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9979

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    4) Mainichi: NHK Press publishes book about NJ “underground reality” (e.g., prostitution, fake marriages and citizenships, profiteering). Contrast with interview with freewheeling cannibal Sagawa Issei.

    Speaking of Japanese media profiteering off NJ by peddling images of them to the public (after in some cases killing them first, e.g., Ichihashi Tatsuya, Sagawa Issei), here we have a quick book review of some author depicting NJ adding to the undercurrent of Japan’s crimes and misdemeanors (N.B., in two articles that are quite different in English and Japanese, as the Mainichi is quite prone to doing). While I haven’t read the book to see if there is any element of, “If these guys had better opportunities in Japan, they might not resort to these trades” (i.e., it’s not because NJ are intrinsically predisposed to criminality, despite what other Japanese media has nakedly asserted), it still panders to the latent NPA-promoted public prejudices of “foreigner as criminal”, sensationalizing the lives of NJ residents in Japan. Pity. There is significantly less media about the regular lawful contributions NJ make to Japanese society. But I guess a book about someone who does his or her day job, brings home the paycheck to put food on the table, spends the weekends playing with the kids, pays taxes on time, and takes on neighborhood association duties, isn’t fodder for selling scads of sensationalism. But I betcha that’s much closer to the “reality” for far more NJ in Japan.

    Mainichi: How much do we know about the real lives of Japan’s foreigners? This is the question that Kota Ishii, a spirited non-fiction writer, raises in his new book, “Nippon ikoku kiko — zainichi gaikokujin no kane, seiai, shi” (Journey through foreign Japan: The money, love, sex and death of foreigners in Japan)… Ishii, who has published several books on prostitution, slums and underground businesses in Asia, sheds light this time on different foreign communities in Japan.

    The book introduces a South Korean who has conquered the Japanese sex industry by undercutting prices; an Israeli man with an expired visa who pays a Japanese woman to marry him to obtain Japanese nationality; Chinese who flee from the country after obtaining citizenship, and many other examples that portray the reality of “underground” foreign communities in Japan. Because there are so many fake marriages initiated by foreigners in Japan, some international matchmaking companies even provide compensation to victims, Ishii writes.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9938

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    BLOWBACK

    5) Yomiuri: Language hurdle trips up Indonesian nurses in 4-year-old GOJ EPA program, and they’re leaving. By design, methinks.

    Speaking of GOJ visa statuses with high to insurmountable hurdles, here’s how the years-long (started in 2008) bilateral program to bring over nurses from The Philippines and Indonesia to work in Japan’s medical system is doing: As predicted. Precisely due to “language barriers”, NJ are being relegated to lower-skilled labor and then sent home (or else, as you can also see below, going home by themselves after having enough of it all). Again, this is the point of Japan’s visa regimes — make sure migrants never become immigrants, siphon off the best working years of their lives, send them back for whatever excuse or shortcoming you can come up with, then bring in a new batch of dupes filled with false hopes. That way you keep the revolving-door labor market revolving, and never let NJ settle down here and get their due for their tax and pension payments. How nice. But as I’ve written before, it’s been the perpetual SOP for the GOJ.

    Yomiuri: More than half of 104 Indonesian nurses who came to Japan in 2008 through a bilateral economic partnership agreement to obtain nursing licenses have returned home, due mainly to difficulties meeting Japanese language requirements, it has been learned.

    Through the EPA program, Indonesian nurses have been allowed to work in Japanese hospitals for three years as assistant nurses who take care of inpatients. They are all licensed nurses in Indonesia. The program requires they pass an annual national nursing certification test during their three-year stay.

    However, only 15 of the first group of 104 nurses who came to Japan from Indonesia passed the national exam. Among the 89 who failed the exam, 27 were granted special permission to extend their stay if they wished to because they managed to score a certain number of points on the previous exam. These nurses will take the national exam again in February.

    The remaining 62 returned to Indonesia by the end of August, though they were still eligible to take the national exam. Only four of them will return to Japan to take the February exam, meaning the remaining 58 have likely given up working in Japan.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9848

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    6) Asahi: Registered NJ population drops again in 2010, GOJ to institute policy of “points system” for future NJ visas this Spring

    To continue a salvo of blog entries on NJ migration/immigration to Japan, here are two articles from the vernacular press. The first one talks about the MOJ’s institution of a “points system” for future NJ visas, in order to encourage “foreign researchers, doctors, managers and people with specialized knowledge or skills” to come to Japan — with higher value accruing to those with good educational pedigrees, higher salaries, etc. “People with more than 70 points” will be considered “higher-degree people with capabilities” (koudo jinzai), with an annual quota of about 2000 souls. They’ll get special benefits like easier visa conditions for wives and children (something currently reserved for those here on foreign expat packages in the financial markets), and five-year waits for Permanent Residency (instead of the usual ten for those not married to Japanese), and no doubt more. It’s scheduled to start from this Spring.

    Fine, let’s have an objective and reviewable system for immigration (or in Japan’s case, just plain old inward migration), but there are two assumptions here, 1) that people are still simply beating a path to Japan now as a matter of course (when by now there are plenty of other rich countries in the region that are better at, say, foreign languages and import infrastructure, not to mention without an irradiated food chain), and 2) a guarantee of things that are fundamental to making a life here without harassment for being different (such as, say, oh, a law against racial discrimination, and checks and balances against a police force that sees racial profiling, street harassment, and even home invasion as part of its mandate). Japan has had plenty of opportunity to take some safeguards against this, and the fact that it won’t yet still wants to get people to live here anyway to offset its demographic crisis is just plain ignorant of reality.

    The second article talks about the effects of a society with institutions that aren’t all that friendly or accountable for its excesses — the second drop of the registered NJ population in two years, after a rise over 48 straight years. I talked about this briefly in my January Japan Times column (as one of the Top Ten Human Rights Events for 2011), so for the record, here is a vernacular source. I think, sadly, that people are starting to wise up, and realize that Japan isn’t all that open a place to settle.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9809

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    7) Mainichi: NJ held by immigration sharply down after reviewing rules

    Speaking of incarceration of NJ under unreviewed circumstances (start here), here is what happens when the GOJ suddenly starts, as encouraged by the United Nations and even domestic think tanks such as JIPI, to actually REVIEW its own rules: They discover that not as many NJ need to be incarcerated. Quite a few of not as many. Very high percentages, even.

    Well, how about that. Glad this happened, and got some press too. May it happen more often, so that the NPA and Immigration realize that there are some boundaries to their power of interrogation and incarceration, even if (and especially if) the incarcerated happen to be NJ (who are even, according to here as well as the article below, committing suicide rather than take any more of this inhumane treatment).

    Mainichi/Kyodo: The number of foreign nationals detained one year or longer by Japanese immigration officials dropped significantly after a review of procedural rules for a more flexible approach in response to criticisms about the treatment of long-term detainees, data for last year showed… The Japanese government came under fire for its long-term detentions in 2007 by the United Nations, which recommended that detention periods should be limited…

    Those who were held for at least one year totaled 47, down sharply from 115 at the end of 2009. The Justice Ministry said it has been actively releasing those who are subject to deportation but it sees no need for holding in custody since July 2010… The number of foreign nationals detained one year or longer by Japanese immigration officials dropped significantly after a review of procedural rules for a more flexible approach in response to criticisms about the treatment of long-term detainees, data for last year showed.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9936

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    8 ) Jeff Smith on Yahoo Japan auctioneer denying foreign bidders, and what he did about it

    Here we have some naked xenophobia and related intolerance in interpersonal internet auctions. I have heard of numerous cases like these on Japanese internet outlets, where sellers simply refuse to sell to somebody with money if the buyer happens to be bearing money while foreign (and nothing would come of it from moderators). But here’s a report of what one person, Jeff Smith, decided to do about it. As he says, auction forums in Japan need to step up with rules to honor bona fide transactions, because that’s the entire point of money as a means of transaction — it is not foreign currency even if the buyer is foreign. Let’s wait and see what Yahoo Japan decides to do about it, if anything.

    Jeff Smith: Something I came upon last night while looking for guitars on Yahoo Auctions, Japan. This individual ignoramus had the nerve to actually write in his or her auction that foreigners would be denied the right to buy said item once found to be foreign, NJ or otherwise: The statement here is as follows in English:

    “Winners please be aware of the message I send upon auction close. I will not accept new bidders who do not reply, or people with bad manners. New bidders are to respond within 48 hours, and those that do so will be allowed to pay for the item. In addition, due to troubles that have occurred, I am not accepting any foreign bidders with a score under 30 rating. [This was actually changed this morning, Feb. 15, 2012: originally it said I will accept NO FOREIGN WINNERS, period.] If I find that the winner is a foreigner after the auction ends, I shall void the auction at my convenience.”

    Amazed that this person could even have the gall to write in such a manner, I contacted the seller with a message as follows…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9958

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally…

    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column #48: “These are a few of my favorite things about Japan”, Feb. 7, 2012

    Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120207ad.html
    (with as-always outstanding illustrations by Chris Mackenzie)
    Version with commentary and links to sources at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=9947

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    All for this month! Thanks for reading! Arudou Debito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 5, 2012 ENDS

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    Mainichi/Kyodo: NJ crime down again, but once again only reported in English and apparently not in J Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, or Sankei

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Here we have the biannual report on NJ crime, as always used to justify further prevention and crackdowns on NJ as potential criminals (justifying all manner of NPA budgets and racial profiling).  But the news this time is good, in that NJ crime is down.  Significantly so.  Check this out:

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    No. of crimes by foreigners in Japan drops 12.7% in 2011
    Mainichi Daily News, February 23, 2012, Courtesy of JK
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120223p2g00m0dm011000c.html

    TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of crimes by foreigners uncovered by police across Japan in 2011 dropped 12.7 percent from a year earlier to 17,286, a preliminary National Police Agency survey showed Thursday.

    The number of foreign nationals the police questioned, arrested and sent papers on to prosecutors last year also fell 15.2 percent from 2010 to 10,061. Both numbers have been on a declining trend after peaking in 2005, according to the survey.

    Foreigners with permanent residence status are not included in the data.

    Among the crimes committed by foreigners, the number of fake marriage cases soared 26.1 percent in 2011 to 193, with the number of foreign nationals investigated by police in those cases also rising 17.6 percent to 554.

    Police have been clamping down on bogus marriages, believing they are creating the infrastructure for a host of other criminal activities, the survey said.

    Of the total number of crimes committed by foreigners, violations of the Penal Code in 2011 dipped 10.2 percent from the previous year to 12,590, while infringements of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and other laws declined 18.8 percent to 4,696.

    By country of origin, China topped the list with Japanese police taking action against 4,012 Chinese nationals, accounting for 39.9 percent of the total, followed by South Korea and the Philippines.

    The number of foreign suspects who fled overseas in 2011 slipped 4.0 percent to 677, according to the survey.

    (Mainichi Japan) February 23, 2012

    ENDS

    Same article (but better proofread) also at The Japan Times at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120224a8.html

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Good.  But here’s the thing:  If it’s bad news (i.e., foreign crime goes up), then it gets splashed all over the place and a media panic ensues about a reemergent foreign crime wave.  However, when is good news (i.e., foreign crime goes down), one of three things happen:

    1) The Japanese police find some way to portray it as a rise,

    2) The Japanese media find some way to headline it as a rise (while even, famously, depicting it as a fall in the English headline),

    3) They ignore it completely.  Foreigners can only ever be news if they’re criminals.

    To support this last assertion, look how the above article was featured in the Mainichi online only in English, as a copy of a Kyodo wire.  And doing a Google news search in Japanese, (search terms gaikokujin hanzai and the newspaper title), I could not find a similar article on this news on the Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, or Sankei Shimbun sites (search as of February 23, 2012):

    Instead, you get Japanese sites, for example Zakzak News below, concurrently and ironically talking about how dangerous Japanese society has become due to foreign crime (despite it going down), and saying how having a “kokumin bangou” to identify all citizens by number is now indispensable (since, as Zakzak says below, foreigners now speak Japanese!!).  Fine, have that conversation if you want, but don’t blame it on foreign crime.

    This perpetual criminalization of foreigners in Japan is nothing short of hate speech.  On an official scale.  And you get a regular fit of it twice a year regardless of what NJ residents do (or don’t do).  Arudou Debito

    ///////////////////////

    【日本の病巣】危ない国ニッポン“国民番号”は不可欠!
    2012.02.16

    http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/politics/news/20120216/plt1202160847000-n1.htm
    【拡大】

    とうに亡くなっていた超高齢者に年金支給していた事件があったが、生死も分からぬ行方不明者は多い。オウム事件の平田信容疑者を匿っていた女性が、住民票もなく健康保険証を手に入れていたのもショックだ。

    この国では、自分が何者であるかを証明しなくても生きていける。海外では身分証明書を携帯せずに生活することは難しいし、多額の支出はカードか小切手だ。アメリカでもかつては運転免許、最近は社会保障番号が何かと必要だ。

    北朝鮮による日本人拉致事件の背景にも「成りすまし」の容易さがあったが、日本人が身分証明書なしで暮らせるようでは、日本語を話す外国人の犯罪も防止できない。

    年金記録紛失なども国民番号制度がないから起きるし、間違いを発見するにも手間がかかる。いろんな制度が「何万円以上」などと階段を成すよう設計されているので、所得が増えるとかえって損になる逆転現象が起きる。だが、コンピューターが発達したので国民番号さえしっかりすれば、さまざまな要素を総合的に評価してきめ細かく公正な社会保障が可能なのに残念だ。

    ようやく、社会保障と税についてマイナンバー制が実現しそうだが、レベルの高い社会福祉国家を実現するために必要不可欠のインフラであるにもかかわらず、「進歩的と称する人たち」が邪魔しているのは残念だ。

    市民的自由の脅威という心配はもっともだが、制度設計と運用について意見をいう方が実質的だ。国民番号の不在は、民間での無秩序な情報集積や流出をもたらし、闇社会を利している。

    日本人が病気や家族関係など、欧米ではあまり秘密にしないことまで隠してバレたときにかえって嫌な思いをするのは文化としても再考したい。

    ただし、番号制度を使って旧悪を暴露して処罰するのはほどほどにしたい。若いころの不正行為がバレて解雇されたりするのは気持ちよくない。過去はモラトリアムで水に流す方が未来志向の改革を実現しやすい。

    余談だが税制では、脱税を防ぐためにも、すべての所得について10%源泉徴収(あとで調整)と、資産額による差別なしで相続について1%相続税(現在の税に付加)を課税してはどうか。相続税が4%のケースだけ課税では、所得税と比べて再配分機能が不十分だ。

    ■八幡和郎(やわた・かずお) 1951年、滋賀県生まれ。東大法学部卒業後、通産省入省。フランス国立行政学院(ENA)留学。大臣官房情報管理課長、国土庁長官官房参事官などを歴任し、退官。作家、評論家として新聞やテレビで活躍。徳島文理大学教授。著書に「本当はスゴい国? ダメな国? 日本の通信簿」(ソフトバンク新書)など。

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, 日本語 | 13 Comments »

    Japan Times JBC/ZG Column Jan 4, 2010: “Arudou’s Alien Almanac 2000-2010″ (Director’s Cut)

    Posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    THE TOP TENS FOR 2010 AND THE DECADE
    ZEIT GIST 54 / JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 35 FOR THE JAPAN TIMES

    justbecauseicon.jpg

    The Japan Times, Tuesday, January 4, 2011
    DRAFT NINE, VERSION AS SUBMITTED TO EDITOR (Director’s Cut, including text cut out of published article)
    WORD COUNT FOR DECADE COLUMN #5-#2: 988 WORDS
    WORD COUNT FOR 2010 COLUMN #5-#2: 820 WORDS

    Download Top Ten for 2010 at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110104ad.html
    Download Top Ten for 2000-2010 at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/01/04/general/arudous-alien-almanac-2000-2010/
    Download entire newsprint page as PDF with excellent Chris Mackenzie illustrations (recommended) at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/images/community/0104p13.PDF

    It’s that time again, when the JUST BE CAUSE column ranks the notable events of last year that affected Non-Japanese (NJ) in Japan. This time it’s a double feature, also ranking the top events of the past decade.

    A TOP TEN FOR THE DECADE 2000-2010

    5) THE OTARU ONSENS CASE (1999-2005)

    This lawsuit followed the landmark Ana Bortz case of 1999, where a Brazilian plaintiff sued and won against a jewelry store in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, that denied her entry for looking foreign. Since Japan has no national law against racial discrimination, the Bortz case found that United Nations Convention on Racial Discrimination (CERD), which Japan signed in 1995, has the force of law instead. The Otaru case (Just Be Cause, Jun. 3, 2008) (in which, full disclosure, your correspondent was one plaintiff) attempted to apply penalties not only to an exclusionary bathhouse in Otaru, Hokkaido, but also to the Otaru city government for negligence. Results: Sapporo’s district and high courts both ruled the bathhouse must pay damages to multiple excluded patrons. The city government, however, was exonerated.

    WHY THIS MATTERS: Although our government has repeatedly said to the U.N. that “racial discrimination” does not exist in Japan (“discrimination against foreigners” exists, but bureaucrats insist this is not covered by the CERD (JBC, Jun. 2, 2009)), the Otaru case proved it does, establishing a cornerstone for any counterargument. However, the Supreme Court in 2005 ruled the Otaru case was “not a constitutional issue,” thereby exposing the judiciary’s unwillingness to penalize discrimination expressly forbidden by Japan’s Constitution. Regardless, the case built on the Bortz precedent, setting standards for NJ seeking court redress for discrimination (providing you don’t try to sue the government). It also helped stem a tide of “Japanese Only” signs spreading nationwide, put up by people who felt justified by events like:

    4) ISHIHARA’S SANGOKUJIN RANT (April 9, 2000)

    Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara set the tone this decade with a calamitous diatribe to the Nerima Ground Self Defense Forces (ZG, Dec. 18, 2007), claiming that NJ (including “sangokujin,” a derogatory term for former citizens of the Japanese Empire) were in Japan “repeatedly committing heinous crimes.” Ishihara called on the SDF to round foreigners up during natural disasters in case they rioted (something, incidentally, that has never happened).

    WHY THIS MATTERS: A leader of a world city pinned a putative crime wave on NJ (even though most criminal activity in Japan, both numerically and proportionately, has been homegrown (ZG, Feb. 20, 2007)) and even offered discretionary policing power to the military, yet he has kept his office to this day. This speech made it undisputedly clear that Ishihara’s governorship would be a bully pulpit, and Tokyo would be his turf to campaign against crime — meaning against foreigners. This event emboldened other Japanese politicians to vilify NJ for votes, and influenced government policy at the highest levels with the mantra “heinous crimes by bad foreigners.” Case in point:

    3) THE SECOND KOIZUMI CABINET (2003-2005)

    Once re-elected to his second term, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi got right down to business targeting NJ. No fewer than three Cabinet members in their opening policy statements mentioned foreign crime, one stressing that his goal was “making Japan the world’s safest country again” — meaning, again, safe from foreigners (ZG, Oct. 7, 2003).

    WHY THIS MATTERS: Despite being one of Japan’s most acclaimed prime ministers, Koizumi’s record toward NJ residents was dismal. Policies promulgated “for the recovery of public safety” explicitly increased the peace for kokumin (Japanese nationals) at the expense of NJ residents. In 2005, the “Action Plan for Pre-Empting Terrorism” (ZG, May 24, 2005) portrayed tero as an international phenomenon (ignoring homegrown examples), officially upgrading NJ from mere criminals to terrorists. Of course, the biggest beneficiaries of this bunker mentality were the police, who found their powers enhanced thusly:

    2) THE POLICE CRACKDOWNS ON NJ (1999- present)

    After May 1999, when their “Policy Committee Against Internationalization” (sic) was launched, the National Police Agency found ample funding for policies targeting NJ expressly as criminals, terrorists and “carriers of infectious diseases.” From NPA posters depicting NJ as illegal laborers, members of international criminal organizations and violent, heinous crooks, campaigns soon escalated to ID checks for cycling while foreign (ZG, Jun. 20, 2002), public “snitch sites” (where even today anyone can anonymously rat on any NJ for alleged visa violations (ZG, Mar. 30, 2004)), increased racial profiling on the street and on public transportation, security cameras in “hotbeds of foreign crime” and unscientific “foreigner indexes” applied to forensic crime scene evidence (ZG, Jan. 13, 2004).

    Not only were crackdowns on visa overstayers (i.e., on crimes Japanese cannot by definition commit) officially linked to rises in overall crime, but also mandates reserved for the Immigration Bureau were privatized: Hotels were told by police to ignore the actual letter of the law (which required only tourists be checked) and review every NJ’s ID at check-in (ZG, Mar. 8, 2005). Employers were required to check their NJ employees’ visa status and declare their wages to government agencies (ZG, Nov. 13, 2007). SDF members with foreign spouses were “removed from sensitive posts” (ZG, Aug. 28, 2007). Muslims and their friends automatically became al-Qaida suspects, spied on and infiltrated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police (ZG, Nov. 9).

    There were also orgiastic spending frenzies in the name of international security, e.g., World Cup 2002 and the 2008 Toyako G-8 Summit (JBC, Jul. 1, 2008). Meanwhile, NJ fingerprinting, abolished by the government in 1999 as a “violation of human rights,” was reinstated with a vengeance at the border in 2007. Ultimately, however, the NPA found itself falsifying its data to keep its budgets justified — claiming increases even when NJ crime and overstaying went down (ZG, Feb. 20, 2007). Hence, power based upon fear of the foreigner had become an addiction for officialdom, and few Japanese were making a fuss because they thought it didn’t affect them. They were wrong.

    WHY THIS MATTERS: The NPA already has strong powers of search, seizure, interrogation and incarceration granted them by established practice. However, denying human rights to a segment of the population has a habit of then affecting everyone else (ZG, Jul. 8, 2008). Japanese too are now being stopped for bicycle ID checks and bag searches under the same justifications proffered to NJ. Police security cameras — once limited to Tokyo “foreigner zones” suchas Kabukicho, Ikebukuro and Roppongi — are proliferating nationwide. Policing powers are growing stronger because human rights protections have been undermined by precedents set by anti-foreigner policies. Next up: Laws preventing NJ from owning certain kinds of properties for “security reasons,” further tracking of international money transfers, and IC-chipped “gaijin cards” readable from a distance (ZG, May 19, 2009).

    1) THE DROP IN THE REGISTERED NJ POPULATION IN 2009

    For the first time in 48 years, the number of foreigners living in Japan went down. This could be a temporary blip due to the Nikkei repatriation bribe of 2009-2010 (ZG, Apr. 7, 2009), when the government offered goodbye money only to foreigners with Japanese blood. Since 1990, more than a million Brazilians and Peruvians of Japanese ancestry have come here on special visas to help keep Japan’s industries humming cheaply. Now tens of thousands are pocketing the bribe and going back, giving up their pensions and becoming somebody else’s unemployment statistic.

    WHY THIS MATTERS: NJ numbers will eventually rise again, but the fact that they are going down for the first time in generations is disastrous. For this doesn’t just affect NJ – it affects everyone in Japan. A decade ago, both the U.N. and Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi stated that Japan needs 600,000 NJ a year net influx just to maintain its taxpayer base and current standard of living. Yet a decade later, things are going in exactly the opposite way.

    It should be no surprise: Japan has become markedly unfriendly these past ten years. Rampant and unbalanced NJ-bashing have shifted Japanese society’s image of foreigner from “misunderstood guest and outsider” to “social bane and criminal.” Why would anyone want to move here and make a life under these conditions?

    Despite this, everyone knows that public debt is rising while the Japanese population is aging and dropping. Japan’s very economic vitality depends on demographics. Yet the only thing that can save Japan – a clear and fair policy towards immigration – is taboo for discussion (JBC, Nov. 3, 2009). Even after two decades of economic doldrums, it is still unclear whether Japan has either the sense or the mettle to pull itself up from its nosedive.

    The facts of life: NJ will ultimately come to Japan, even if it means that all they find is an elderly society hanging on by its fingernails, or just an empty island. Let’s hope Japan next decade comes to its senses, figuring out not only how to make life here more attractive for NJ, but also how to make foreigners into Japanese.

    ENDS

    Bubbling under for the decade: U.N. Rapporteur Doudou Diene’s 2005 and 2006 visits to Japan, where he called discrimination in Japan “deep and profound” (ZG, Jun. 27, 2006); Japan’s unsuccessful 2006 bid for a U.N. Security Council seat—the only leverage the U.N. has over Japan to follow international treaty; the demise of the racist “Gaijin Hanzai” magazine and its publisher thanks to NJ grassroots protests (ZG, Mar. 20, 2007); the “Hamamatsu Sengen” and other statements by local governments calling for nicer policies towards NJ (ZG, Jun. 3, 2008); the domination of NJ wrestlers in sumo; the withering of fundamental employers of NJ, including Japan’s export factories and the eikaiwa industry (ZG, Dec. 11, 2007).

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    A TOP TEN FOR 2010

    5) RENHO BECOMES FIRST MULTIETHNIC CABINET MEMBER (June 8 )

    Japanese politicians with international roots are few but not unprecedented. But Taiwanese-Japanese Diet member Renho’s ascension to the Cabinet as minister for administrative reforms has been historic. Requiring the bureaucrats to justify their budgets (famously asking last January, “Why must we aim to develop the world’s number one supercomputer? What’s wrong with being number two?”), she has been Japan’s most vocal policy reformer.

    WHY THIS MATTERS: Few reformers are brave enough to withstand the national sport of politician-bashing, especially when exceptionally cruel criticism began targeting Renho’s ethnic background. Far-rightist Diet member Takeo Hiranuma questioned her very loyalty by saying, “She’s not originally Japanese.” (Just Be Cause, Feb. 2) Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara expanded the focus by claiming people in the ruling coalition had foreign backgrounds, therefore were selling Japan out as a “duty to their ancestors” (JBC, May 4). Fortunately, it did not matter. In last July’s elections, Renho garnered a record 1.7 million votes in her constituency, and retained her Cabinet post regardless of her beliefs, or roots.

    4) P.M. KAN APOLOGIZES TO KOREA FOR 1910 ANNEXATION (August 10)

    After all the bad blood between these strikingly similar societies, Japan’s motion to be nice to South Korea was remarkably easy. No exploitable technicalities about the apology being unofficial, or merely the statements of an individual leader (as was seen in Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama’s apologies for war misdeeds, or Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono’s “statement” about “comfort women” – itself a euphemism for war crimes) — just a prime minister using the opportunity of a centennial to formally apologize for Japan’s colonial rule of Korea, backed up by a good-faith return of war spoils.

    WHY THIS MATTERS: At a time when crime, terrorism and other social ills in Japan are hastily pinned on the outside world, these honest and earnest reckonings with history are essential for Japan to move on from a fascist past and strengthen ties with the neighbors. Every country has events in its history to be sorry for. Continuous downplaying — if not outright denial by nationalistic elites — of Japan’s conduct within its former empire will not foster improved relations and economic integration. This applies especially as Asia gets richer and needs Japan less, as witnessed through:

    3) TOURIST VISAS EASED FOR CHINA (July 1)

    Despite a year of bashing Chinese, the government brought in planeloads of them to revitalize our retail economy. Aiming for 10 million visitors this year, Japan lowered visa thresholds for individual Chinese to the point where they came in record numbers, spending, according to the People’s Daily, 160,000 yen per person in August.

    WHY THIS MATTERS: Wealthy Chinese gadding about while Japan faced decreasing salaries caused some bellyaching. Our media (displaying amnesia about Bubble Japan’s behavior) kvetched that Chinese were patronizing Chinese businesses in Japan and keeping the money in-house (Yomiuri, May 25), Chinese weren’t spending enough on tourist destinations (Asahi, Jun. 16), Chinese were buying out Japanese companies and creating “Chapan” (Nikkei Business, Jun. 21), or that Chinese were snapping up land and threatening Japan’s security (The Japan Times, Dec. 18). The tone changed this autumn, however, when regional tensions flared, so along with the jingoism we had Japanese politicians and boosters flying to China to smooth things over and keep the consumers coming.

    Let’s face it: Japan was once bigger than all the other Asian economies combined. But that was then — 2010 was also the year China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. Japan can no longer ignore Asian investment. No nationalistic whining is going to change that. Next up: longer-duration visas for India.

    2) NJ PR SUFFRAGE BILL GOES DOWN IN FLAMES (February 27)

    The ruling coalition sponsored a bill last year granting suffrage in local elections to NJ with permanent residency (ZG, Feb. 23) — an uncharacteristically xenophilic move for Japan. True to form, however, nationalists came out of the rice paddies to deafen the public with scare tactics (e.g., Japan would be invaded by Chinese, who would migrate to sparsely-populated Japanese islands and vote to secede, etc.). They then linked NJ suffrage with other “fin-de-Japon” pet peeves, such as foreign crime, North Korean abductions of Japanese, dual nationality, separate surnames after marriage, and even sex education.

    WHY THIS MATTERS: The campaign resonated. Months after PR suffrage was moribund, xenophobes were still getting city and prefectural governments to pass resolutions in opposition. Far-rightists used it as a political football in election campaigns to attract votes and portray the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) as inept.

    They had a point: How could the DPJ sponsor such a controversial bill and not rally behind it as criticisms arose? Where were the potential supporters and spokespeople for the bill, such as naturalized Diet member Marutei Tsurunen? Why were the xenophobes basically the only voice heard during the debate, setting the agenda and talking points? This policy blunder will be a huge setback for future efforts to promote human rights for and integration of NJ residents.

    Bubbling under for the year: Oita High Court rules that NJ have no automatic right to welfare benefits; international pressure builds on Japan to sign the Hague Convention on Child Abduction; Tokyo Metropolitan Police spy on Muslims and fumble their secret files to publishers; America’s geopolitical bullying of Japan over Okinawa’s Futenma military base undermines the Hatoyama administration (JBC, Jun. 1); Ibaraki Detention Center hunger strikers, and the Suraj Case of a person dying during deportation, raise questions about Immigration Bureau procedure and accountability.
    ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 18, 2010

    Posted on Saturday, December 18th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 18, 2010
    Table of Contents:

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    IMMIGRATION AND HEADS IN THE SAND
    1) Latest numbers on Japan’s registered NJ population from MOJ (November 2010)
    2) Economist.com special report on Japan: How it all comes back down to demographics
    3) Economist.com podcast on costs and benefits of immigration
    4) WSJ: Domestic Group Appeals for Overhaul of Japanese Immigration
    5) Japan Times Community Page on issues of dual citizenship: “Japan loses, rest of the world gains from ‘one citizenship fits all’ policy”
    6) CNNGo.com: “Will there ever be a rainbow Japan?”
    7) Tangent: LA Times: PRC Census also measures for ethnicity, unlike Japan’s Census

    WORKPLACE ISSUES
    8 ) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST SPECIAL: Speech by Neo Yamashita of EWA Osaka union on your contract labor rights
    9) Japan Times Community Page on NJ “Trainee Visa” slavery program and how crooked it still is, according to NGOs
    10) McNeill in Mainichi on how Japan Inc. needs to loosen up to women and NJ executives
    11) Tangent: NHK: GOJ enshrining more rights for handicapped. Hope for same for NJ?

    SOMETHING SMELLS FISHY
    12) Japan Times: “Darling foreigner” Tony Laszlo is “less passionate today” about discrimination against foreigners
    13) “Black Melon Pan” Afros as food: Insensitive marketing by Mini-Stop Konbini
    14) YouTube video showing NPA Bicycle Instant Checkpoint supersedes attention to car accident
    15) Yomiuri: ‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, NJ informants revealed

    … and finally …

    16) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE, Dec 7, 2010: “MOFA gets E for effort in ‘with or without U’ farce” (full text)

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    By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org)
    Daily blog updates, discussions, and RSS feeds at www.debito.org
    Freely Forwardable

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    IMMIGRATION AND HEADS IN THE SAND

    1) Latest numbers on Japan’s registered NJ population from MOJ (November 2010)

    I gave two lectures a couple of weeks ago at Hokudai’s International Student Center on Japan’s multicultural future (a prognostication I find a bit weaker in recent years, what with the drop in NJ numbers in 2009 in all honesty, especially after the Nikkei Repatriation Bribe). So I went on a dig for the most recent GOJ stats on NJ residents, and think it appropriate for this weekend’s blog entry. Have a look. Six screen captures with commentary. For example:

    COMMENT: Here we have the number of resident NJ by nationality. As of 2007, the Chinese residents overtook the Koreans (North and South and Zainichi) for the first time in history, and are significantly more numerous than before. Their numbers are not abating, whereas the Koreans and Brazilians are going down significantly. Up also are people from The Philippines. Peruvians and Americans down slightly, while people from “sono ta” other countries are increasing their percentage of the population by a few fractions of a percent every year. Vietnamese, Thais, Subcontinental Indians, and Nepalese are the most significant gainers in this categories, growing by more than 10,000 souls over the past decade.

    COMMENT: Here we have registered NJ by Status of Residence again, showing us how the numbers have changed over time. Permanent Residents have increased significantly unabated, except that the Special PRs (Zainichis) keep dropping significantly, while the Regular (immigrants) keep increasing significantly both in number and percentage (8.4%) over 2009 (they crossed lines in 2007; there are now significantly more “Newcomer” immigrants than “Oldcomer” Zainichis). Meanwhile, the non-Permanents have dropped by nearly 5% over the past year. The largest drop percentages are the “Trainees” (generally Chinese working in factories, allegedly receiving training but often being used as slave laborers) by nearly a quarter, and the Long-Term Residents (Nikkei workers, again being offered bribes to go “home” and be somebody else’s unemployment statistic). Also significantly dropping are the “Entertainers” (often people working in the sex trades, again slavery except this time sexual), at 15.8% which to me is good news.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8032

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    2) Economist.com special report on Japan: How it all comes back down to demographics

    Interesting podcasts from The Economist London (November 20, 2010) on how Japan’s economic future all comes down to demographics. Links to podcasts:

    Eight minutes:
    Economist Editor: “Unless Japan takes dramatic steps to reenergize its shrinking, greying workforce, its economy will suffer.”

    Henry Tricks: “When I set about writing this report, I didn’t start out by looking at population decline. I looked at all the other problems… but everything seemed to come back down to demographics.”

    My interpretation: There is no getting around immigration. NJ will come. Whether they find a weakened elderly population in the near future, or an empty island in the far future, they will come. They had better be made into Japanese or there will be no more Japanese.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8064

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    3) Economist.com podcast on costs and benefits of immigration

    Economist: What can you tell us as far as what you know about the fiscal burden of immigration, and the fiscal benefits of immigrants?

    Robert Shapiro, former Prez. Clinton advisor: Particularly in five or six states, where immigrants are highly concentrated, there’s a fiscal deficit. Much of that has to do with educating children of immigrants. That’s the single largest cost. But if you look at it more dynamically, immigrants tend to be aggressive about improving their conditions. Aggressive enough to leave their homeland. These are not the kinds of people who take life as it’s been given to them. They try to make the best of their lives, and so you would expect to see some income gains — whether they start out as a day laborer or as an entrepreneur. The whole issue of entrepreneurship is interesting, because we find that not only do you see a lot of entrepreneurship among educated immigrants, particularly from Asia — and this has been commented on: the large volume of Silicon Valley startups that were started by immigrants, particularly from India. You see this also among undocumented immigrants, who are generally low-skilled people. Now they’re different kinds of businesses they’re starting. But that’s entrepreneurship, whether it’s a software startup, or a small corner business…

    [There is] another benefit of immigration — and a fiscal benefit. And that is, immigrants — and they generally come in early working age — they work their whole lives, if they stay here their whole lives, and then they retire. That’s the same as an American, except that the American working young worker has parents. Who claim social security and medicare. Immigrants come without their elderly parents, and in that sense we get a contribution to the labor force without having to pay out the benefits to the parent. When you’re talking about millions of people, that’s big money…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8059

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    4) WSJ: Domestic Group Appeals for Overhaul of Japanese Immigration

    WSJ: A powerful group of politicians, academics and business leaders is set to launch an unusual campaign to urge Japan to pry open its doors to foreigners, saying the country’s survival hinges on revamping its immigration policy.

    Japan has one of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world, and the debate over whether to allow more foreigners to settle in the country has long been a contentious, politically charged issue for the nation. But recently, calls to allow more foreign workers to enter Japan have become louder, as the aging population continues to shrink and the country’s competitiveness and economic growth pales in comparison with its neighbor to the west: China. A minuscule 1.7% of the overall Japanese population are foreigners, compared with 6.8% in the United Kingdom and 21.4% in Switzerland, according to the OECD.

    The 87-member policy council of the Japan Forum of International Relations, a powerful nonprofit research foundation, will on Thursday launch a half-page advertisement in the country’s leading newspapers, urging Japan to rethink its immigration policy. They also submitted their policy recommendations to Naoto Kan, the country’s prime minister.

    “If Japan wants to survive in a globalized world economy and to advance her integration with the burgeoning East Asian economy, she essentially has no other choice but to accept foreign migrants,” the advertisement says.

    The policy council has issued several recommendations, including allowing more skilled workers to enter the labor market, particularly in industries where there are shortages of domestic workers, such as construction and the auto industry. Under economic-partnership agreements with Indonesia and the Philippines, Tokyo has allowed nurses and nursing-care specialists from these countries to enter Japan, but applicants are subjected to a grueling test in Japanese that only three people have passed. The council says these tests have to be made easier…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7929

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    5) Japan Times Community Page on issues of dual citizenship: “Japan loses, rest of the world gains from ‘one citizenship fits all’ policy”

    Japan Times: What does Japan gain by, in effect, rejecting my children and thousands of other young dual citizens living in Japan and around the world, at the very moment when they come of age and are at last able to become productive members of society?

    Best as I can figure, the only virtue of the “one citizenship fits all” rule is simplicity.

    What does Japan lose by rejecting dual citizenship? … One wonders if the existing policy of denying permanent dual citizenship to people who possessed the status as children is motivated by a concern that altering it would lead to dual citizenship demands by others, such as ethnic Korean residents of Japan or Brazilians of Japanese descent. Rather than risk facing such demands, government officials might have concluded that it is “better to leave well enough alone.” However, allowing people who already have Japanese citizenship to keep it will not inevitably lead to more far-reaching changes to Japan’s Nationality Law.

    Given its dire demographic outlook, perhaps Japan should open a dialogue on radical changes to its Nationality Law, such as a U.S.-style “birthright” giving citizenship to all people born on Japanese soil, an Israeli-style “Law of Return” allowing the ingathering of all ethnic Japanese everywhere in their ancestral homeland, or an Irish-style “Grandparent Rule” granting citizenship to anyone who can document having one Japanese grandparent. But even if Japan is not willing to open its door that widely, it should at least stop slamming the door on some of its own citizens shortly after they reach adulthood…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8019

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    6) CNNGo.com: “Will there ever be a rainbow Japan?”

    CNNGo: Japan: The new melting pot?

    Japan’s national government recently announced it is turning to travelers in a foreigner-friendly mission to boost diversity — at least in tourist spots — by paying them to provide feedback on how to increase accessibility for non-Japanese speakers.

    David Askew, associate professor of law at Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University, identifies more profound changes.

    In 1965, a mere 1 in 250 of all marriages in Japan were international, he notes. By 2004, the number had climbed to 1 in 15 across the nation and 1 in 10 in Tokyo.

    According to Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government, by 2005, foreign residents in the city numbered 248,363, up from 159,073 in 1990.

    According to Askew, the upswing in diverse residents and mixed marriages has led to another phenomenon: between 1987 and 2004, more than 500,000 children were born in Japan with at least one foreign parent…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7995

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    7) Tangent: LA Times: PRC Census also measures for ethnicity, unlike Japan’s Census

    LAT: “Similar to the census process in the United States, most people [in China] are given a standard [census] form with a few basic questions: 18 of them centering on names, ages, occupation. Ethnicity is also asked, but not religion, that being a sensitive subject in a communist country that is officially atheist. One-tenth of the population, meanwhile, was selected for a longer, 45-question form that includes queries about income, savings, the type of water one drinks (tap or boiled) and the number of bathrooms in the house…”

    COMMENT: What’s interesting as far as Debito.org goes is that, despite some claims of Chinese homogeneity thanks to the Han majority, the PRC apparently DOES survey for ethnicity. Unlike the GOJ. Again, that’s the hegemony of homogeneity in Japan.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7920

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    WORKPLACE ISSUES

    8 ) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST SPECIAL: Speech by Neo Yamashita of EWA Osaka union on your contract labor rights

    DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DECEMBER 1, 2010
    PALE SIG Forum: Labor relations in Japan

    Language: English
    From recruitment through retirement (or dismissal), labor laws, court precedents, and labor unions affect educational workers. Educational workers, especially non-Japanese, however, are not well informed or even misled about this. For example, though Westerners want written contracts, Japanese labor advocates recommend not signing contracts in some cases to protect employment rights. This recommendation is based on labor law and court precedents. Accordingly, labor unions play a more crucial role in protecting worker rights than some think.

    Neo Yamashita, Vice Chair of the Education Workers and Amalgamated Union Osaka (EWA), gives us his decades of expertise on November 20, 2010. Podcast listenable from here. 87 minutes. No cuts.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7968

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    9) Japan Times Community Page on NJ “Trainee Visa” slavery program and how crooked it still is, according to NGOs

    JT: In October 1999, 19 Chinese trainees came to the Takefu city office pleading for help. In their first year in Japan as interns, the women had been promised JPY50,000 a month, but scraped by on JPY10,000. The next year, as technical trainees, they should have received JPY115,000 a month. After health insurance, pension, rent, forced “savings” and administrative fees for the staffing agency in China were deducted, what they got was JPY15,000. The women walked for five hours from their workshop in the mountains of Fukui Prefecture to talk with the director of their placement organization at his home. Instead of receiving answers, they were turned away with harsh words — and even blows.

    The incident was discussed in the Diet and became a symbol of the profound problems with the trainee system. Shortly afterwards, citizens’ groups formed to protect the rights of trainees and organizations already working to protect foreigners’ rights found a new focus. More than 10 years later, leaders of these groups say they have seen some positive changes, but abuses of the system are still endemic…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8006

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    10) McNeill in Mainichi on how Japan Inc. needs to loosen up to women and NJ executives

    McNeill: I’ve talked about Japan’s reluctance to embrace mass immigration in this column before. Here’s something else to consider: Japan’s boardrooms are still almost completely devoid of foreigners — and females.

    Women make up just 1.2 percent of top Japanese executives, according to business publisher Toyo Keizai; gaijin board members on Japan’s roughly 4,000 listed companies are as rare as hens’ teeth.

    The exception is a handful of troubled giants, notably Sony Corp., which made Welshman Howard Stringer its chairman and CEO in 2005, and Nissan Motor Co., where Brazilian Carlos Ghosn has been in charge for over a decade.

    That lack of diversity worries some bosses. Last year the Japan Association of Corporate Executives published the results of a two-year survey that called on its members to revolutionize boardroom practices.

    “Japanese firms are terribly behind in accepting diversity,” said association vice chairman Hasegawa Yasuchika. “They should radically transform their corporate culture to provide the same opportunities to employees all around the world.”

    Easier said than done, perhaps. Ever since Japan’s corporations began moving overseas in the 1970s, they have followed a tried and tested formula: Whatever happens in transplants and local operations abroad, control stays in the iron grip of the all-Japanese boardroom back home…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7948

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    11) Tangent: NHK: GOJ enshrining more rights for handicapped. Hope for same for NJ?

    We might have the image of the DPJ being too bogged down in politics to get much done. But as NHK reports below (be sure to watch video too from the link), we have some pretty impressive lawmaking being done by a more liberal government for one underprivileged segment of Japanese society — the handicapped.

    The committee’s deliberations are saying the things we want guaranteed vis-a-vis human rights for human beings — including protections enshrined in law. With this precedent and degree of enlightenment, can we but hope that they could someday stretch it to include non-citizens? The linkage, however tenuous, is there. Have a read:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7936

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    SOMETHING SMELLS FISHY

    12) Japan Times: “Darling foreigner” Tony Laszlo is “less passionate today” about discrimination against foreigners

    Japan Times: Apart from writing, Laszlo taught for a few years at Japanese universities, and has also set up an nongovernmental organization, Issho Kikaku, in 1992. Through this NGO, he put on theatrical shows related to multicultural issues, and later, dealt with social issues such as discrimination against foreigners.

    “In those days, personally, I felt a strong desire to avoid a simple dichotomy between Japanese and non-Japanese, male and female, family and friends, handicapped and nonhandicapped,” he said. Today, he said he is less passionate about the issues, and that the group’s activities have become more low-key…

    COMMENT: Low key? I’ll say. This “issho kikaku” has a one-page website which hasn’t changed for years — moreover has done away with hundreds of pages of works from other NJ and Japanese activists that were a priceless archive of domestic activism from the late 1990’s-early 2000’s. In fact, this “issho kikaku” was never an NGO at all. Never registered as one, in fact, yet still reported as extant by a too-trusting reporter. So “low-key” is an understatement: how about “no-key” or “delete-key”?…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8071

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    13) “Black Melon Pan” Afros as food: Insensitive marketing by Mini-Stop Konbini

    Here’s a letter from cyberspace on another potentially offensive marketing campaign portraying African features as black-bread Afros to sell food.

    No doubt we’ll get the defenders of this sort of marketing, e.g. “Japan has so few black people it has no sensitivity to this sort of thing”, “it’s not racist, at least not intentionally”, “lighten up guys, and stop foisting your cultural values on the Japanese”, or “it’s a Japanese character, not a real black character, so it’s not a problem”. Any other naysaying? Oh wait, yeah, “you just don’t get Japan”. Anyway, check this out:

    XY: My name is XY, Founder and Director of [….] a marketing consultancy in [Japan] that researches Japanese consumer behavior on behalf of our international clients like Coca-Cola, VISA credit cards etc. As such, I often peruse the shelves of convenience stores to see what the latest trends are. I was shocked to find in my local Mini-Stop the all-new campaign for “black melon pan”, a bread that parodies a black man’s afro on the package. This is no small thing. Mini-Stop is a very large and growing combini chain and this is a signature campaign prominently advertised and displayed on their shelves…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8045

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    14) YouTube video showing NPA Bicycle Instant Checkpoint supersedes attention to car accident

    AT: Hey Debito, you gotta check out this YouTube video showing a prime example of the incompetence of the Japanese police. A guy riding a bicycle gets stopped by a police officer for no reason, which happens a lot in Japan. As the officer is asking him questions (which the guy is under no obligation to answer), we can hear an obvious traffic accident take place in the background just around the corner, and both the police officer and the bicyclist hear it. A reasonable police officer would realize that that was a traffic accident and that people may be injured and need first aid, etc. But no, this cop continues to question the bicyclist as if nothing happened. At one point he even denies that it may be a traffic accident. After the bicyclist convinces him to do so, he notifies dispatch of the traffic accident, and then continues to question the bicyclist rather than tending to the possibly injured! This cop neglected to tend to a possibly serious and fatal traffic accident, all so he can perform shokumu shitsumon (voluntary questioning) on a bicyclist!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8050

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    15) Yomiuri: ‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, NJ informants revealed

    This breaking news from the weekend compounds just how sinister the activities of the Japanese police can be. First spying on people in the name of combating terrorism because they’re Muslims or connected to Muslims, then losing control of the information to the point where it becomes a book on sale to the public. Shame on you, Metropolitan Police Department. Imagine how big a scandal this would have been if Japanese people had been treated similarly.

    Now, of course, since this is embarrassing to the police, the book (as per checks with Amazon.co.jp and an in-person check at Kinokuniya Sapporo yesterday) is no longer being sold. Good. But that sure was quick, compared to how much comparative time and effort it took for the Gaijin Hanzai Ura Files Mook in 2007 (which I believe the police contributed information to) to go off-market. Seems to me less the need to protect individual NJ than for the police to cover their collective ketsu. Whatever. The book is off the market. The materials for it shouldn’t have been collected in the first place.

    Yomiuri: A Tokyo publishing house has released a book containing what are believed to be Metropolitan Police Department antiterrorism documents that were leaked onto the Internet last month.

    Released by Dai-San Shokan Thursday, the book contains the personal information of Muslim residents in this country, such as their names and addresses.

    Akira Kitagawa, president of the publisher, said he decided to put out the book “to raise questions about the laxity of the police’s information control system.”…

    The 469-page book, titled “Ryushutsu ‘Koan Tero Joho’ Zen Deta” (Leaked police terrorism info: all data), is on sale at some bookstores, but several major publishing agents have refused to distribute it.

    If the documents are authentic, the book contains the names and photos of foreign residents being monitored by the 3rd Foreign Affairs Division at the Public Security Bureau of the MPD, the names of people who have cooperated with the police, and the photos and addresses of police officers involved in terrorism investigations.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7961

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally …

    16) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE, Dec 7, 2010: “MOFA gets E for effort in ‘with or without U’ farce”

    JUST BE CAUSE
    The Japan Times: Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010
    MOFA gets E for effort in ‘with or without U’ farce [not my title]
    By ARUDOU DEBITO
    Column 34 for Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE

    Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20101207ad.html
    Version with links to sources and discussion at http://www.debito.org/?p=8010

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    All before the holidays start. Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org)
    Daily blog updates, discussions, and RSS feeds at www.debito.org
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 18, 2010 ENDS

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    Yomiuri: ‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, NJ informants revealed

    Posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  This breaking news from the weekend compounds just how sinister the activities of the Japanese police can be.  First spying on people in the name of combating terrorism because they’re Muslims or connected to Muslims, then losing control of the information to the point where it becomes a book on sale to the public.  Shame on you, Metropolitan Police Department.  Imagine how big a scandal this would have been if Japanese people had been treated similarly.

    Now, of course, since this is embarrassing to the police, the book (as per checks with Amazon.co.jp and an in-person check at Kinokuniya Sapporo yesterday) is no longer being sold.  Good.  But that sure was quick, compared to how much comparative time and effort it took for the Gaijin Hanzai Ura Files Mook in 2007 (which I believe the police contributed information to) to go off-market.  Seems to me less the need to protect individual NJ than for the police to cover their collective ketsu.  Whatever.  The book is off the market.  The materials for it shouldn’t have been collected in the first place.  Arudou Debito

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    ‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, informants revealed

    The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 28, 2010)
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T101127002588.htm

    A Tokyo publishing house has released a book containing what are believed to be Metropolitan Police Department antiterrorism documents that were leaked onto the Internet last month.

    Released by Dai-San Shokan Thursday, the book contains the personal information of Muslim residents in this country, such as their names and addresses.

    Akira Kitagawa, president of the publisher, said he decided to put out the book “to raise questions about the laxity of the police’s information control system.”

    The documents in question are thought to have been leaked via file-sharing software on Oct. 28. The book is printed in the same format as the documents.

    One foreign resident whose name and address are listed in the book has called for it to be immediately recalled from bookstores. However, since the MPD has not officially admitted a leak took place, they cannot suspend publication or take other measures.

    The 469-page book, titled “Ryushutsu ‘Koan Tero Joho’ Zen Deta” (Leaked police terrorism info: all data), is on sale at some bookstores, but several major publishing agents have refused to distribute it.

    If the documents are authentic, the book contains the names and photos of foreign residents being monitored by the 3rd Foreign Affairs Division at the Public Security Bureau of the MPD, the names of people who have cooperated with the police, and the photos and addresses of police officers involved in terrorism investigations.

    One African man whose name and those of his family are in the book told The Yomiuri Shimbun he was worried how this would affect his family, and that he wanted the police to halt the book’s publication. He said he had not yet seen the book.

    The MPD maintains it is still investigating the case, and has not confirmed whether the information is authentic. A senior police official said, “At present, it’s difficult for the MPD to protest the publication or demand its suspension.”

    Masao Horibe, professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University, said the publication of the data in book form could be called a human rights violation since it increases its distribution, even though the information was already available on the Internet.

    “Some might argue people have the freedom to publish or know about the data. But this book is just raw unedited data, not like a newspaper would carry. I think it’s questionable whether the publication of this book is in the public interest,” he said.

    Author Go Egami said the police should halt publication of the book and admit the leaked data was genuine, because its authenticity is obvious to anyone who has seen it.

    “I think the government neglected the [terror information] leak because they were distracted by the coast guard’s trouble with the Chinese fishing boat,” he said.
    ENDS

    ////////////////////////////////////////

    ‘MPD data’ book wreaks havoc / Foreign residents who had private info exposed express fear, anger
    The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 29, 2010), Courtesy of JK

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T101128002788.htm

    People who saw their personal information published last week in a book containing what is believed to be police antiterrorism documents are expressing anger and fear over the fallout they could face.

    Many foreign residents had their photos and family members’ names revealed in the book, which some bookstores have removed from their shelves. It also carries personal information about investigators of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Public Security Bureau, as well as data on police informants.

    It has been about one month since the suspected leak came to light, but the MPD has yet to confirm the data belongs to the department, only saying it is still verifying the validity of the documents. The police have not taken any action, such as requiring the publisher to stop sales of the book.

    Experts have called on the MPD to quickly admit the data is real and take action.

    Published by Tokyo publishing house Dai-San Shokan, the 469-page book is titled “Ryushutsu ‘Koan Tero Joho’ Zen Deta” (Leaked police terrorism info: all data) and hit the shelves Thursday.

    The book carries the names, photos and addresses of foreign residents who have apparently been subject to MPD investigations, as well as those of MPD bureau investigators in charge of international terrorism.

    An African man living in the Kanto region whose photo and family members’ names were carried in the book said: “After the documents were leaked online, a disease I’ve had for a long time got worse because of the stress. I’m shocked the information became a book so soon. I was just trying to forget about it.”

    Another foreign resident of Tokyo said his home telephone number was carried in the book. “The publishing company didn’t contact me in advance. Now that the information’s in a book–not just on the Internet–I wonder what’ll happen to me and my family?” he said.

    The book is on sale in Tokyo bookstores and via other channels, but some retailers have voluntarily decided not to sell copies. The Shinjuku branch of Kinokuniya Co. put 60 copies on sale Saturday morning, only to take it off the shelves when it realized the contents were inappropriate, but not before several copies had been sold.

    MPD making no progress

    The MPD did not notice the leak until Oct. 29 when it received a tip from a private telecommunications firm. Since then, the MPD’s position has been that it is verifying whether the data found online were in fact internal documents.

    The MPD is stuck, because if it admits internal information was leaked, it will likely lose the trust of foreign authorities, according to a senior MPD official. One document contains an apparent request by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for cooperation in investigations.

    The entire MPD is involved in the investigation into the leak–not only the Public Security Bureau but also the Personnel and Training Bureau, which investigates scandals involving police officers, and the Administration Bureau, which is in charge of information control.

    A former senior official of the Public Security Bureau said “the data is absolutely the bureau’s internal documents” and includes top secret items. The data was leaked onto the Internet through a server in Luxembourg, making it difficult for investigators to track where it originated. The MPD has asked the company operating the server for cooperation, but it has yet to be given any communications records.

    The MPD maintains it is unable to take any action against the publisher because it has not officially confirmed the data came from the organization.

    Police appear to be divided on how to handle the problem. Some say the MPD should never admit a leak occurred, but others believe they should admit at least part of the documents are internal and take necessary action as soon as possible.

    The data has continued to spread online across the globe via file-sharing software. NetAgent Co., a Tokyo private information security firm, said as of Thursday, the data had been downloaded onto 10,285 computers in 21 countries and regions.
    ENDS

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    Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media | 7 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 6, 2010

    Posted on Saturday, August 7th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 6, 2010

    Hi All. Fat one this time, what with nearly a month gone by since the last one. And with summer here, I’m going to be less on the keyboard and outside trying to get sick of warm, sunny weather. Can’t imagine it happening, but it’s worth a try. Enjoy August!

    Table of Contents:
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    SPECIAL ON THE DPRK SPY KIM HYON HUI JAPAN VISIT: THE BIG CON

    1) North Korean spy and terrorist skirts Immigration, gets to stay in Hatoyama summer home, due to Yokota Megumi Case
    2) UPDATE: Additional thoughts on the DPRK Spy Kim Hyon Hui Japan Visit from a friend in the know
    3) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column Aug 3: Kim uses Japan’s “perpetual victimhood” to her advantage

    OTHER BIG CONS

    4) Japan’s Centenarians are missing: Registry systems that ignore NJ residents are also registering long-dead Japanese as alive
    5) Kyodo: NJ crime down once again, but NPA spin says NJ crime gangs “increasingly” targeting Japan, whines about difficulty in statistically measuring NJ crime
    6) More racism in NPA police posters, this time Kanagawa Ken Yamate police and big-nosed “int’l NJ crime groups”.
    (UPDATE: Contrast with same Kanagawa Police site in English: “we patrol community hoping smiles of residents never vanish.” Retch.)
    7) Shame on Berlitz Japan for its court harassments, firing teacher for having cancer
    8 ) Yomiuri: New “lay judges” in J judiciary strict about demanding evidence from prosecutors, give ‘benefit of doubt’. Well, fancy that.
    9) Economist London on Japan’s treatment of Chinese: Welcome tourist money, work “Trainees” to death
    10) NYT has video and article on JITCO NJ “Trainee” Program, including sweatshop conditions and karoushi
    11) Mainichi/Kyodo: J companies will boost hiring of NJ by 50%! Yeah, sure.
    12) JIPI’s Sakanaka on Gaijin Tank detentions for visa overstays: Put a maximum time limit on them
    13) Toyota QC and “culture” again, says it will increase safety by dealing with mechanical and cultural defects, with Japanese-only review panel
    14) Asahi: South Korea, China overtaking Japan in ‘cool’ culture battle, whatever that means
    15) AP and JT on “Soft Power” of JET Programme, projecting Japan’s influence abroad
    16) IMADR Connect Mag: UN CERD concerns and recommendations 2010 for the GOJ; rinse and repeat

    OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

    17) NJ population falls in 2009 for the first time since 1961
    18) New separate blog with details about taking Japanese citizenship, in English, written by other fellow naturalized Japanese
    19) Thoughts on GOJ Upper House Election July 11, 2010: A DPJ loss, but not a rout, regardless of what the media says.
    20) Asahi editorial supports NJ PR Suffrage, published during election-period debates

    INTERESTING TANGENTS

    21) AP: A Milestone For Russia: African-born Town Councilor Is Country’s 1st Black Elected To Office
    22) Japan Times columnist CW Nicol (a whaling supporter) on why “The Cove’s” Taiji dolphin culls bother him

    … and finally…

    23) My Schofill family roots include Cherokee and lots of American South skeletons
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org)
    Daily Blog Updates and RSS at www.debito.org. Facebook and Twitter arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    SPECIAL ON THE DPRK SPY KIM HYON HUI JAPAN VISIT: THE BIG CON

    1) North Korean spy and terrorist skirts Immigration, gets to stay in Hatoyama summer home, due to Yokota Megumi Case

    As a friend most poignantly pointed out to me yesterday evening, something’s very wrong with Japan’s current top news story:

    “Have you been following the reaction to the treatment given that ex-North Korean spy who blew up a plane and murdered 115 people, yet came to Japan as a VIP and is now staying at Hatoyama’s Karuizawa retreat? David McNeil and Justin McCurry did pieces with a hint of outrage, especially David, who noted that, if Japanese authorities had bothered to follow the immigration law, she would have been arrested. To be fair, some Japanese journalists noted last night (on TBS, I think) that something isn’t quite right.

    “You may be interested to know that the group “Bring Abducted Children Home” is pretty upset as well, noting that the Japanese government rolls out the red carpet for a mass murderer just because she might have some information on Japanese children who were kidnapped out of Japan but doesn’t want to deal with anybody seeking a meeting about Japanese children kidnapped back to Japan by a Japanese parent.”

    Quite. As far as I recall not a peep about the terrorism on NHK 7PM last night. Only the meeting with the Yokotas and all the smiles. Elite politics indeed trumps all.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7278

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) UPDATE: Additional thoughts on the DPRK Spy Kim Hyon Hui Japan Visit from a friend in the know

    Excerpt: Kim Hyon Hui, a wannabe actress-turned-terrorist who blew up a 747 filled with 115 people back in 1987 when she was a North Korean agent and who got the death penalty, only to see it revoked for reasons that are still unclear, arrived at Haneda airport Wednesday by special charter plane from her home in South Korea. Ms. Kim saw Japan’s fine hospitality at its best, and was even given her own motorcade to former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s summer home in Karuizawa. No delays at train stations or red lights for our Ms. Kim!…

    Yes, Ms. Kim did suffer a memory loss when she originally told Japanese officials she’d never met Megumi Yokota. But that was then and this is now. The Japanese government is quite happy to learn she has regained her memory, calling it a miracle and dismissing cynics who wonder whether Kim’s memory loss was restored with the aid of both hypnosis and secret bank accounts in Switzerland, Macau, or the Cayman Islands.

    So busy were Japanese officials with their one-woman “Yokoso Japan!” on behalf of Ms. Kim and her testimony about children abducted from Japan by foreigners in violation of domestic and international law that readers will surely sympathize with our nation’s overworked and understaffed bureaucracy when they insist they have no time to meet with Americans, Canadians, British, Germans, French, Indians, or anyone else who would like — just a few minutes, if you please — to discuss the issue of children abducted to Japan by Japanese in violation of domestic and international law.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7282

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    3) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column Aug 3: Kim uses Japan’s “perpetual victimhood” to her advantage

    The Japan Times: Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010
    JUST BE CAUSE
    The victim complex and Kim’s killer con
    Courtesy
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100803ad.html
    Comments and links to sources at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=7378
    By DEBITO ARUDOU

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    OTHER BIG CONS

    4) Japan’s Centenarians are missing: Registry systems that ignore NJ residents are also registering long-dead Japanese as alive

    As a tangent (but a very interesting one) is the biggest news story the past few days in Japan; Japan has some very old people who have gone missing or are long dead, but are still registered as living pensioners.

    This of course calls into question two things:

    1) The oft-cited claim that Japanese live longest in the world. With actually-dead people nudging up the average, and the possibility that the oldest people are only that way because nobody has checked on them in thirty years, this source of national pride has given way to questions of the efficacy of Japan’s Kokusei Chousa (National Census) system, which has somehow missed recording these people for decades (or in all probability, enabled horrific scams of “baachan in a freezer” while her pensions keep getting collected).

    and 2) (and this is why it’s tangentially related to Debito.org), it calls into question the efficacy of the Juuminhyou and Koseki systems too. Although any formal registry system might miss people who are not being noticed or are being deliberately hidden, it’s funny to find a centarian registered as living at a car park. But it’s not funny when you realize that taxpaying NJ are not registered as “spouse” on the Koseki Family Registry system, or even as visible residents and family under the Juuminhyou Residency Certificate system. Meanwhile, long-dead people are, just because they’re Japanese. It’s screwy. It’s an angle that has not been covered in the debate on this. But it oughta be.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7370

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) Kyodo: NJ crime down once again, but NPA spin says NJ crime gangs “increasingly” targeting Japan, whines about difficulty in statistically measuring NJ crime

    Kyodo reports the semiannual NPA NJ crime propaganda campaign, claiming once again some kind of “increase”. Before, we had decreases in crime depicted as an increase, depending on what crime you looked at or what language the article was in. Now it’s the NPA, in the face of a 40% admitted drop in “NJ criminals rounded up” since 2004, giving the spin of doubting its own statistics. What’s next, saying NJ are more likely to commit crime because of their criminal DNA? (Actually, Tokyo Gov Ishihara beat them to that nearly a decade ago.)

    Here’s the report being referred to in pdf format:
    http://www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai6/rainichi.pdf

    Note how on the bottom of page two, they give a definition that the “gaikokujin” they’re referring to do not mean those here with PR status, the Zainichi, the US military, or “those with unclear Statuses of Residence” (what, refugees? certainly not visa overstayers). Okay. Pity the media doesn’t mention that. Nor is it mentioned that although this report is supposed to deal with “international crime”, it is just titled “Rainichi Gaikokujin Hanzai no Kenkyo Joukyou” (lit. The Situation of Cases of Crimes by Foreigners Coming to Japan). I guess just talking about garden-variety crime by NJ (back in the day when it was allegedly going up) isn’t convenient anymore. You have to narrow the focus to find the crime and shoot the fish in the proverbial barrel — it gets the headlines that attribute crime to nationality, even somehow allows you to doubt your own statistics. Moreover enables you to claim a budget to “establish a system in which investigators across the nation would be able to work in an integrated manner to counter crimes committed by foreigners” (as opposed to an integrated manner to counter crimes in general).

    Let’s see what the NPA spin is next time. Fascinatingly bad science.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7293

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    6) More racism in NPA police posters, this time Kanagawa Ken Yamate police and big-nosed “int’l NJ crime groups”.
    (UPDATE: Contrast with same Kanagawa Police site in English: “we patrol community hoping smiles of residents never vanish.” Retch.)

    For a nice bite-size Sunday post, dovetailing with yesterday’s post on the NPA’s whipping up fear of foreign crime gangs, here we have the Kanagawa Police offering us a poster with racist caricatures of NJ, and more minced language to enlist the public in its Gaijin Hunt. Check this out:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7296

    Let’s analyze this booger. In the same style of fearmongering and racist police posters in the past (see for example here, here, here, and here), we have the standard NJ conks and wily faces. Along with a crime gang stealing from a jewelry store (nothing like getting one’s hands dirty, unlike all the white-collar homegrown yakuza crime we see fewer posters about).

    The poster opens with employers being told to check Status of Residences of all the NJ they employ. Of course, employers who employ NJ usually sponsor them for a visa, so this warning shouldn’t be necessary. I guess it’s nicer than warning the employer that if they do employ overstayers, the employer should also be punished. But again, we hear little about that. It’s the NJ who is the wily party, after all.

    Then we get the odd warning about overstayers (they say these are lots of “rainichi gaikokujin”, which is not made clear except in fine print elsewhere that they don’t mean the garden-variety NJ) and their links to “international crime groups” (although I haven’t seen convincing statistics on how they are linked). Then they hedge their language by saying “omowaremasu” (it is thought that…), meaning they don’t need statistics at all. It’s obviously a common perception that it’s “recently getting worse” (kin’nen shinkoku ka)…

    Finally, we have the places to contact within the Kanagawa Police Department. We now have a special “international crime” head (kokusai han kakari), a “economic security” head (keizai hoan kakari), and a “gaiji kakari”, whatever that is shortened for (surely not “gaikokujin hanzai jiken”, or “foreign crime incidents”). Such proactiveness on the part of the NPA. I hope they sponsor a “sumo-yakuza tobaku kakari” soon…

    Anyone else getting the feeling that the NPA is a law unto itself, doing whatever it likes in the purported pursuit of criminals, even if that means racial profiling, social othering of taxpayers and random enforcement of laws based upon nationality (even a death in police custody with impunity), and manufacturing consent to link crime with nationality?

    UPDATE: Compare and contrast with the English version of PR for the same police department, courtesy of crustpunker:

    http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/eng/eng_idx.htm

    Not only is it a disingenuous lie, its contents are utterly banal. And since I can’t find the gaiji kakari under “Section Information” in English, so I doubt the overall accuracy as well.

    This is linked from this even nastier Kanagawa Police site regarding NJ:

    http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/mes/mese2001.htm

    More at http://www.debito.org/?p=7296

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    7) Shame on Berlitz Japan for its court harassments, firing teacher for having cancer

    Japan Times: The battle between Berlitz Japan and Begunto began with a strike launched Dec. 13, 2007, as Berlitz Japan and its parent company, Benesse Corp., were enjoying record profits. Teachers, who had gone without an across-the-board raise for 16 years, struck for a 4.6-percent pay hike and a one-month bonus. The action grew into the largest sustained strike in the history of Japan’s language school industry, with more than 100 English, Spanish and French teachers participating in walkouts across Kanto.

    On Dec. 3, 2008, Berlitz Japan claimed the strike was illegal and sued for a total of JPY 110 million in damages. Named in the suit were the five teachers volunteering as Begunto executives, as well as two union officials: the president of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu, Yujiro Hiraga , and Carlet, former NUGW case officer for Begunto and currently executive president of Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union (Tozen)…

    Another of the teachers named in the suit, Catherine Campbell, was fired earlier this month after taking too long to recover from late-stage breast cancer cancer. In June 2009, Campbell took a year of unpaid leave to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Because Berlitz Japan failed to enroll Campbell in the shakai hoken health insurance scheme, she was unable to receive the two-thirds wage coverage it provides and had to live with her parents in Canada during treatment. The company denied Campbell’s request to extend her leave from June to Sept. 2010 and fired her for failing to return to work.

    Berlitz Japan work rules allow for leave-of-absence extensions where the company deems it necessary. “If cancer is not such a case, what would be?” Campbell asks…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7327

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    8 ) Yomiuri: New “lay judges” in J judiciary strict about demanding evidence from prosecutors, give ‘benefit of doubt’. Well, fancy that.

    Here’s an article (I can’t find in Japanese) regarding what’s happening in Japan’s “Lay Judge” system (i.e. generally bringing six common folk to sit on Japanese juries as “saiban’in”, with three other real judges offering “legal guidance”, as in, keeping an eye on them). Well, guess what, we have “Runaway Juries”, by Japanese standards! They’re getting in the way of the public prosecutor (who gets his or her way in convicting more than 99.9% of cases brought to Japanese criminal court) and offering acquittals! Well, how outrageous! Given what I know about the Japanese police and how they arrest and detain suspects (particularly if they are existing while foreign), I doubt they are right 99.9% of the time. And it looks like some of the saiban’in would agree. But here’s a lament by the Yomiuri about how those darn lay judges (how belittling; why aren’t they just “jurists”?) are getting in the way. Good. Raise the standard for burden of proof.

    Yomiuri: Three complete or partial acquittals were handed down in lay-judge trials in June and July, in which the principle of giving the benefit of the doubt to defendants in criminal trials was strictly applied. As a result, some prosecutors believe it is becoming harder and harder to persuade lay judges that defendants are guilty…

    According to lawyer Koshi Murakami, a former division chief of the Tokyo High Court, the sentences of not guilty were handed down in these cases due to professional judges and lay judges’ different understanding of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard for deciding whether a defendant is guilty.

    “Even if they doubt a piece of circumstantial evidence, professional judges decide whether a defendant is guilty after a comprehensive review of other pieces of evidence,” Murakami said. “However, lay judges may consider a not guilty decision if they are suspicious of even one piece of evidence.”…

    During the trial, the prosecution did not submit as evidence a security video that recorded conversations between a shop clerk and the defendant and his accomplice.

    The prosecution decided it was unnecessary to submit the videotape and did not preserve it because of the consistent statements given by the defendant, the accomplice and the clerk in the course of the investigation.

    However, one of the trial’s lay judges criticized the prosecution for its choice.

    “I felt the prosecution was overly optimistic not submitting the security video record, which is very objective evidence,” said company employee Nanako Sugawara, 62.

    “From now on, objective pieces of evidence such as video tapes must be preserved until all hearings related to a case are finished,” a senior official at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office said, reflecting on the trial. “We have to improve our investigation methods so that we can prove our allegations regardless of who is chosen as lay judges…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7287

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    9) Economist London on Japan’s treatment of Chinese: Welcome tourist money, work “Trainees” to death

    A couple of days after this issue appeared in Kyodo and on Debito.org, the Economist London had an article in its print and online version. (If Debito.org is an inspiration for your articles, may we say how grateful we are for the extended audience.) With even more research and quotes, and a comparison with another issue also recently discussed on Debito.org (how Chinese money is affecting the tourist economy), here’s the article:

    Economist: Many Japanese strive to keep up egalitarian appearances… But when it comes to the way Japan treats its nouveau riche neighbour, China, different rules apply. Two events this month betray the double standards with which Japanese officialdom treats China’s rich and poor. On July 1st Japan relaxed visa requirements for well-off Chinese tourists. It was not stated how much anyone needed to earn to apply for one. But as long as they had at least a gold credit card and a solid professional or civil-service job to go back to, they were free to come to Japan, to shop until they dropped.

    Far from the bright lights of Japan’s shopping districts, however, young Chinese working in small industrial firms get anything but red-carpet treatment. On July 5th Kyodo, a news agency, reported that 21 Chinese were among 27 foreign trainees who died last year on a government-sponsored skills-transfer scheme for developing countries that over the past four years has brought in an average of 94,000 workers a year, mostly from China.

    Of the 27, nine died of heart or brain diseases, four died while working and three committed suicide. A few days earlier officials confirmed that a 31-year-old Chinese trainee who died in 2008 after clocking up about 100 hours a month of overtime was the victim not of heart failure, as originally reported, but of “karoshi”, the Japanese affliction of death from overwork…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7243

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    10) NYT has video and article on JITCO NJ “Trainee” Program, including sweatshop conditions and karoushi

    NYT: For businesses, the government-sponsored trainee program has offered a loophole to hiring foreign workers. But with little legal protection, the indentured work force is exposed to substandard, sometimes even deadly, working conditions, critics say.

    Government records show that at least 127 of the trainees have died since 2005 — or one of about every 2,600 trainees, which experts say is a high death rate for young people who must pass stringent physicals to enter the program. Many deaths involved strokes or heart failure that worker rights groups attribute to the strain of excessive labor.

    The Justice Ministry found more than 400 cases of mistreatment of trainees at companies across Japan in 2009, including failing to pay legal wages and exposing trainees to dangerous work conditions. This month, labor inspectors in central Japan ruled that a 31-year-old Chinese trainee, Jiang Xiaodong, had died from heart failure induced by overwork.

    Under pressure by human rights groups and a string of court cases, the government has begun to address some of the program’s worst abuses. The United Nations has urged Japan to scrap it altogether…

    The Japan International Training Cooperation Organization, or Jitco, which operates the program, said it was aware some companies had abused the system and that it was taking steps to crack down on the worst cases. The organization plans to ensure that “trainees receive legal protection, and that cases of fraud are eliminated,” Jitco said in a written response to questions…

    As part of the government’s effort to clean up the program, beginning July 1, minimum wage and other labor protections have for the first time been applied to first-year workers. The government has also banned the confiscating of trainees’ passports.

    But experts say it will be hard to change the program’s culture… “If these businesses hired Japanese workers, they would have to pay,” said Kimihiro Komatsu, a labor consultant in Hiroshima. “But trainees work for a bare minimum,” he said. “Japan can’t afford to stop.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7276

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    11) Mainichi/Kyodo: J companies will boost hiring of NJ by 50%! Yeah, sure.

    Major Japanese firms are planning to boost hiring of foreign nationals by up to 50 percent of their new recruits in fiscal 2011, officials of the companies said Tuesday.

    Fast Retailing Co., the operator of the popular Uniqlo casual clothing chain, major convenience store chain Lawson Inc. and Rakuten Inc., which operates the largest Internet mall in Japan, are planning to recruit foreigners mainly from Asian countries including China, Taiwan and Malaysia, according to the officials.

    As they are expanding global operations especially in emerging markets in Asia amid shrinking domestic sales, the three companies are accelerating operations to hire Asian graduates in their home countries and those studying at Japanese universities.

    The firms hope to promote them to company executives in the future to lead their operations in the Asian markets, the officials said…

    COMMENT: My my, we’ve heard that before. Not just recently in the Asahi last April (where respondents who had been through the hiring process recently smelled tripe and onions; as did the Yomiuri April 2009). We heard this tune back in the Bubble Years too (one of the reasons why people like me came here in the late 1980s). We were made promises that simply were not kept. Remains to be seen, then as now. Just saying it will happen don’t make it so. Feels to me like somebody’s talking up the Japanese job market.

    And even if they do hire as many as they say, will they have the smarts to offer them job conditions that will keep them on board? Or will they fall back into the hackneyed practice of assuming that job applicants should just feel grateful for the honor to work for a Japanese company? Hah. I think people are more informed than that nowadays. Opinions?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7161

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    12) JIPI’s Sakanaka on Gaijin Tank detentions for visa overstays: Put a maximum time limit on them

    Here we have JIPI’s Sakanaka-san in the Japan Times speaking out from a position of authority again in favor of NJ, this time regarding Japan’s Immigration Detention Centers (aka Gaijin Tanks for visa overstayers) and their conditions. As has been discussed here before, Gaijin Tanks are not prisons; they do not fall under the penal code for incarceration conditions, there is no arraignment before a judge or court sentence to fulfill, and there is no time limit to how long you can be incarcerated for visa violations in Japan. This has deleterious effects on the physical and mental health of detainees, of course. So Mr S. is quite magnanimously (given Japan’s racially-profiling law enforcement) offering a compromise limit of one year behind bars. Think there will be any takers?

    Japan Times: Illegal residents should not be held in detention for more than one year because any longer causes too much stress, a former chief of the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau said, noting extended incarceration led to two hunger strikes at detention centers this year, one of which followed suicides…

    There is no limit on how long the government can hold foreign residents deemed to be in Japan illegally. The Immigration Bureau’s Enforcement Division said 71 inmates out of 442 being held in three detention centers in Ibaraki, Osaka and Nagasaki prefectures had been confined for more than a year as of May 31.

    Dozens of detainees went on hunger strikes lasting more than a week at the East Japan Immigration Control Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, in May and at the West Japan Immigration Control Center in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, in March. They were demanding better treatment, including limiting their incarceration to six months… The hunger strikes failed to win any concessions…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7249

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    13) Toyota QC and “culture” again, says it will increase safety by dealing with mechanical and cultural defects, with Japanese-only review panel

    As an update to the whole Toyota and safety issues (with people blaming them on cultural differences), now we have news that Toyota is actually going to “review defect measures” and “beef up quality controls” using “outsiders” for “independent scrutiny”.

    I myself am not all that optimistic. Toyota is, as the article says below, essentially “keeping it in the family”. After previously penalizing an American QC expert for his scrutiny, they’ve anointed a blue-ribbon panel of experts who are Japanese only. Yeah, that’ll learn ‘em about “cultural differences”, all right. Especially since the article below once again quotes Toyota as still trying to “bridge a cultural gap”. As if culture is any factor here in making unsafe cars safe. Enforced cluelessness.

    Meanwhile, a US federal grand jury is subpoenaing Toyota to make sure the documentation doesn’t also continue to “stay in the family”. That article and video below too.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7227

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    14) Asahi: South Korea, China overtaking Japan in ‘cool’ culture battle, whatever that means

    Here are two articles about an economic phenom I’ve never quite gotten the hang of: the “coolness” of a country. The Asahi frets that Japan is losing out to other Asian countries in “coolness”, whatever that means. There is an actual department within METI dealing with “cool”, BTW, and an article below talks about “Japan’s Gross National Cool”, again, whatever that means. Sounds like a means for former PMs like Aso to create manga museums and bureaucrats to get a line-item budget for officially studying “soft power”. Ka-ching.

    But in all fairness, it’s not only Japan. Brazil is doing something similar with its quest for “soft power” (but more as an understated tangent to its economic growth, according to The Economist London). And of course, PM Blair had “Cool Brittania”. So this may be just an extension of trying to measure the value of services as well as hard material goods, or a hybrid thereof. It’s just that with “soft power” comes the potential for some equally soft-focus science — how can you be “losing” to other countries in something so hard to measure?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7326

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    15) AP and JT on “Soft Power” of JET Programme, projecting Japan’s influence abroad

    Here are two articles talking about what I brought up yesterday, Japan’s “soft power”, and how the JET Programme is an example of that. First one delves into the history and goals, the other making the case for and against it, with input from former students under JETs’ tutelage.

    We’ve talked extensively about JET cuts/possible abolition here already on Debito.org (archives here), and raised doubts about the efficacy of the program as a means to teach Japanese people a foreign language and “get people used to NJ” (which I agree based upon personal experience has been effective, as Anthony says below). I guess the angle to talk about this time, what with all the international networking and alumni associations, is the efficacy of the program as a means of projecting Japan’s “soft power”, if not “cool”, abroad.

    I have already said that I am a fan of JET not for the projection of power abroad, but rather because the alternative, no JET, would not be less desirable. Otherwise, in this discussion, I haven’t any real angle to push (for a change), so let’s have a discussion. Give us some good arguments on how effective JET is abroad.

    AP: Of the more than 52,000 people who have taken part, many are moving into leadership at companies, government offices and non-profits that make decisions affecting Japan, said David McConnell, an anthropology professor at The College of Wooster in Ohio and author of a book about JET.

    “The JET Program is, simply put, very smart foreign policy,” he said.

    James Gannon, executive director for the nonprofit Japan Center for International Exchange in New York, describes JET as a pillar of the U.S.-Japan relationship and the “best public diplomacy program that any country has run” in recent decades.

    JT: Upon return to their home countries, they act as unofficial goodwill ambassadors for Japan, and their experience as a JET is looked upon favorably by employers such as the U.S. State Department. For a relatively small investment on the part of taxpayers, the JET program has created huge returns, welcoming generations of non-Japanese who have, and will, go on to promote better relations between Japan and their own country and expose Japanese to the outside world in unprecedented ways.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7344

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    16) IMADR Connect Mag: UN CERD concerns and recommendations 2010 for the GOJ; rinse and repeat

    Here we have a report from human rights group IMADR, along with a number of other NGOs, making their case to the UN CERD Committee again about discrimination in Japan. The UN then makes recommendations, and then the GOJ answers once again that those recommendations are unfeasible. It’s the same process that has been going on for decades, my recent research has shown. I’ll share that paper with you when it gets published. Meanwhile, enjoy the circus below.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7098

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    OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

    17) NJ population falls in 2009 for the first time since 1961

    In probably the most significant news germane to Debito.org this year, we have for the first time in nearly a half-century (48 years) the population of NJ decreasing in Japan. Looks like the “Nikkei Repatriation Bribe” was very effective indeed.

    To try to take the edge off this bad news, I have an Ishihara joke at the end of this blog post if you’re interested.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7153

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    18) New separate blog with details about taking Japanese citizenship, in English, written by other fellow naturalized Japanese

    Late last June a naturalized Japanese friend of mine set up a website devoted solely to offering information to people interested in taking out Japanese citizenship (or of course for those who just have a curiosity about what’s involved). Written by people who have actually gone through the process (yours truly included). See it at:

    http://www.turning-japanese.info/

    Debito.org was once pretty much the source for that in English, but the data there is out of date in places (of course, it’s been a decade). This collection of modern and variable experiences from the increasingly-visible naturalized Japanese citizens (word has it your treatment by MOJ officials depends quite a bit on your race and national origin; I believe as a White former American I had a comparatively easy time of it) is a valuable addition to the canon, and I wanted to devote today’s blog entry to point you towards it.

    Topics thus far covered there:
    ===================================

    • High-fidelity MS Word and OpenDocument Japan naturalization forms
    • FAQ: Which is more difficult: permanent residency or naturalization
    • Comparison: The U.S. Citizenship Test on Video
    • Misinformation: justlanded.ru: Japanese citizenship
    • The three types of naturalization
    • Misinformation: eHow: How to become a Japanese Citizen
    • FAQ: Do you have to speak perfect Japanese to naturalize?
    • FAQ: How much paperwork is involved?
    • FAQ: Can I have an official Japanese name even if I don’t naturalize?
    • What the Ministry of Justice website says about naturalization
    • Analyzing the Application Procedures
    • FAQ: Do you have to be a permanent resident or special permanent resident to naturalize?
    • Your newly acquired right to vote: Using the web to know your candidates
    • FAQ: Do you have to take a Japanese name if you naturalize?
    • FAQ: How much does it cost to naturalize?
    • Becoming Japanese is becoming more expensive for Americans
    • Japanese “Naturalization Permission Application Guidance” booklet
    • Renouncing Former Nationalities
    • My first visit to the Nationality Section

    ===================================

    and more.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7298

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    19) Thoughts on GOJ Upper House Election July 11, 2010: A DPJ loss, but not a rout, regardless of what the media says.

    Background: The Upper House of Japan’s Diet (parliament) has a total of 242 seats. Half the UH gets elected every three years, meaning 121 seats were being contested this time. Of the ones not being contested, the ruling DPJ, which has held the majority of UH seats (through a coalition with another party) since 2007, had the goal of keeping that majority. To do that, the DPJ had to win 55 seats plus one this time (since they already had 66 seats not being contested this election). The opposition parties (there are many, see below) had the goal of gaining 66 seats plus one (since 55 of theirs were not being contested this election) to take the UH majority back. Here’s how the numbers fell this morning after yesterday’s election:

    DPJ won 44 (and their coalition partner lost all of theirs).
    Non-DPJ won 77.

    Totals now come up to 106 (a loss of ten) seats for the DPJ, meaning they lost their absolute Upper House majority thanks to a coalition partner party (Kokumin Shintou) losing all their contested seats (three). Thus the DPJ lost control of the Upper House.

    However, this does not mean that somebody else assumes power of it. Nobody is close to forming a Upper House majority, meaning there will be some coalition work from now on. After breaking down the numbers on this blog, conclusions:

    DPJ lost this election, there’s no other spin to be had. But it was not a rout (like the UH election of 2007 against the LDP was, see here). Consider this:

    Number of electoral districts where DPJ came out on top where they weren’t on top before (in other words, electoral gains as far as DPJ is concerned): None.

    Number of electoral districts where DPJ stayed on top or kept their seat same as last election (in other words, no change for the worse): 22

    Number of electoral districts where DPJ lost but lost before anyway (in other words, the status quo of no electoral gains held): 10

    Number of electoral districts where DPJ flat out won before but lost a seat this time (this is the bad news, electoral losses): 12

    Conclusion: The DPJ essentially held their own in a near-majority of contested electoral districts. They did not gain much, but did not lose big. In fact, in all multiple-seat constituencies, at least one DPJ candidate won (see below)…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7206

    UPDATE: A reporter friend asks me for a critique of his article (which I thought fell for the Japanese media line of “the rout”). Here’s what I wrote:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7206#comment-198285

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    20) Asahi editorial supports NJ PR Suffrage, published during election-period debates

    In the middle of the election period, here’s a surprising editorial from the Asahi — in support of NJ PR Suffrage! The ruling DPJ dropped it from their manifesto, and most parties that took it up as an issue (LDP, Kokumin Shintou (rendered below as People’s New Party) and Tachiagare Nippon (i.e. Sunrise Party, hah)) used it to bash NJ and try to gain votes from xenophobia (didn’t matter; the latter two still did not gain seats from it). Anyway, here’s the strongest argument made by mainstream Japanese media in support of it. And it’s a doozy. Thanks Asahi for injecting some tolerance into the debate. Maybe it made a difference in voting patterns.

    Asahi: More than 2.2 million foreign residents are registered in Japan, and 910,000 of them have been granted permanent resident status. Japan is already a country comprising people with various backgrounds. It is appropriate to have those people rooted in their local communities to share the responsibility in solving problems and developing their communities.

    It is also appropriate to allow their participation in local elections as residents, while respecting their bonds to their home nations.

    In its new strategy for economic growth, the government says it will consider a framework for taking in foreigners to supplement the work force. To become an open country, Japan must create an environment that foreigners find easy to live in.

    An Asahi Shimbun survey in late April and May showed that 49 percent of the respondents were in favor of foreign suffrage while 43 percent were against it.

    Since public opinion is divided, the DPJ, which put the issue on the public agenda, should not waffle but should give steady and persuasive arguments to the public.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7147

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    INTERESTING TANGENTS

    21) AP: A Milestone For Russia: African-born Town Councilor Is Country’s 1st Black Elected To Office

    (AP) People in this Russian town used to stare at Jean Gregoire Sagbo because they had never seen a black man. Now they say they see in him something equally rare — an honest politician.

    Sagbo last month became the first black to be elected to office in Russia.

    In a country where racism is entrenched and often violent, Sagbo’s election as one of Novozavidovo’s 10 municipal councilors is a milestone. But among the town’s 10,000 people, the 48-year-old from the West African country of Benin is viewed simply a Russian who cares about his hometown…

    COMMENT: Already seen it in Japan with people like Tsurunen Marutei, Anthony Bianchi, and Jon Heese, and we’re going to see more of it worldwide as ever-increasing international migration means mixing, assimilation, then representation in governmental bodies.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7317

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    22) Japan Times columnist CW Nicol (a whaling supporter) on why “The Cove’s” Taiji dolphin culls bother him

    As another angle to the subject of the documentary The Cove, here we have Japan Times naturalist columnist (and fellow naturalized citizen) C.W. Nicol offering his view on what’s going on in Taiji. What’s interesting is his take on the matter of animal cruelty. Although he supports whaling as an issue and has no truck with tradition involving hunting of wild animals, what gets him is what the hunt does to the people in the neighborhood. I’m reminded of what goes on at Pitcairn Island (you get a society removed enough long enough from the authorities, they’ll invent their own rules, even if at variance with permissible conduct in society at large, and claim it as tradition). It was another reason for me personally to feel the conduct at Taiji is reprehensible.

    The problem is that although Taiji is a small community, once it’s claimed to be “Japanese tradition”, you get one of the world’s most powerful economies behind it. Then all manner of issues (Japan bashing, economics, a general dislike at the national level of having outsiders telling Japan what to do, fear of right-wing repercussions, and corruption of culturally-tolerant debate arenas overseas) adhere and make the debate murky.

    Nicol: What horrified me in Taiji was that the dolphins were not harpooned, and thus secured to be quickly dispatched. Instead, the hunters were simply throwing spears into a melee of the animals swimming in a small inlet they had sealed off from the sea, hitting them here and there. Then they’d retrieve the spear by hauling in a rope tied to it and hurl it again or use it close up to stab with. This was a far cry from the efficiency — and respect for life, and death — of an Inuit hunter or a whaler at sea.

    That first time I witnessed the Taiji killings, I saw a dolphin take 25 minutes to die, while on another hunt I saw one that thrashed and bled for a horrible 45 minutes before it succumbed to its wounds. Killing, if justified and necessary, should surely be merciful and quick — yet I even saw an old grandmother laughing at a dolphin’s death throes and pointing out the animal to the small child with her as if it was some kind of joke. That really hurt and shook my belief in people.

    In addition to this catalog of horrors, though, as a former marine mammal research technician in Canada, it shocked me that all those dolphins were being captured and killed with no government inspector or fisheries biologist on hand to take data and monitor the kill. I protested about what was going on to the fishermen, and to Town Hall officials in Taiji. I even went to Tokyo and protested to a senior official in the Fisheries Agency, but he just sneered and said, “What does it matter, they die anyway.”…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7137

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    … and finally…

    23) My Schofill family roots include Cherokee and lots of American South skeletons

    About two months ago I received out of the blue two fat books from a distant relative. Information on the Schofill Clan, hand-collated from family history and lore.

    I have gone through four name changes in my life: I was born 1965 as David Christopher Schofill, was adopted after divorce by my stepfather around 1971 to become David Christopher Aldwinckle, became Sugawara Arudoudebito (due to koseki woes) when I naturalized into Japan 2000, and then had the Sugawara legally removed from my koseki in 2006 by Japanese court weeks after my divorce to become Arudou Debito. Hiya.

    But I have been so far removed from family, any family, my entire life (birth father, step father, and mother all moved far away from their birth roots, and my mother severed almost all contact with the Schofill Clan after the divorce; I’ve furthermore been excommunicated by my parents since my naturalization) that receiving these fat books of family lore was a very pleasant surprise and unprecedented experience for me.

    So here’s what I’ve gleaned: I have a picture of Philip Schofill, my great great great great grandfather, born March 31, 1803 in Lexington, South Carolina.

    What’s also an interesting find is that Philip Schofill’s father was, according to family legend, a Cherokee Indian by the name of Red Feather, before marrying a settler and taking the name Reese Busbee. Here’s a photo (undated): So that means that I’m 1/128th Cherokee, which translates to about a pound and a half of my flesh; better not diet). Might matter in Canada.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6847

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    That’s all for a while. Again, enjoy August!
    Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 6, 2010 ENDS

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    More racism in NPA police posters, this time Kanagawa Ken Yamate police and big-nosed “int’l NJ crime groups”. (UPDATE: Contrast with same Kanagawa Police site in English: “we patrol community hoping smiles of residents never vanish.” Retch.)

    Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010

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    Hi Blog. For a nice bite-size Sunday post, dovetailing with yesterday’s post on the NPA’s whipping up fear of foreign crime gangs, here we have the Kanagawa Police offering us a poster with racist caricatures of NJ, and more minced language to enlist the public in its Gaijin Hunt. Check this out:

    (Click on image to expand in browser.)
    From http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/ps/32ps/32pic/32004_47.pdf, courtesy lots of people.

    Now let’s analyze this booger. In the same style of fearmongering and racist police posters in the past (see for example here, here, here, and here), we have the standard NJ conks and wily faces. Along with a crime gang stealing from a jewelry store (nothing like getting one’s hands dirty, unlike all the white-collar homegrown yakuza crime we see fewer posters about).

    The poster opens with employers being told to check Status of Residences of all the NJ they employ. Of course, employers who employ NJ usually sponsor them for a visa, so this warning shouldn’t be necessary. I guess it’s nicer than warning the employer that if they do employ overstayers, the employer should also be punished. But again, we hear little about that. It’s the NJ who is the wily party, after all.

    Then we get the odd warning about overstayers (they say these are lots of “rainichi gaikokujin”, which is not made clear except in fine print elsewhere that they don’t mean the garden-variety NJ) and their links to “international crime groups” (although I haven’t seen convincing statistics on how they are linked). Then they hedge their language by saying “omowaremasu” (it is thought that…), meaning they don’t need statistics at all. It’s obviously a common perception that it’s “recently getting worse” (kin’nen shinkoku ka).

    Next paragraph offers the standard “threat to Japanese social order” (chi’an) presented by visa overstayers and illegal workers (even though overstayers have gone down steadily since 1993), and asks for the public’s assistance.

    Then it brings in the heroic Kanagawa Police, and how they will be strengthening their controls over these big-hootered shifty-eyed NJ from now on, and asks for anyone with information about illegal NJ to drop by any cop shop or police box (even though police boxes I’ve reported unlawful activities to have told me to take my crimes elsewhere; I guess NJ criminality is a higher priority).

    Finally, we have the places to contact within the Kanagawa Police Department. We now have a special “international crime” head (kokusai han kakari), a “economic security” head (keizai hoan kakari), and a “gaiji kakari“, whatever that is shortened for (surely not “gaikokujin hanzai jiken“, or “foreign crime incidents”). Such proactiveness on the part of the NPA. I hope they sponsor a “sumo-yakuza tobaku kakari” soon.

    Anyone else getting the feeling that the NPA is a law unto itself, doing whatever it likes in the purported pursuit of criminals, even if that means racial profiling, social othering of taxpayers and random enforcement of laws based upon nationality (even a death in police custody with impunity), and manufacturing consent to link crime with nationality?

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    UPDATE:  Compare and contrast with the English version of PR for the same police department, courtesy of crustpunker:

    http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/eng/eng_idx.htm

    Not only is it a disingenuous lie, its contents are utterly banal.  And since I can’t find the gaiji kakari under “Section Information” in English, so I doubt the overall accuracy as well.

    This is linked from this even nastier Kanagawa Police site regarding NJ:

    http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/mes/mese2001.htm

    我が国に向けられる諸外国からの有害活動は、様々な形で活発に展開されています。平成17年と18年には、在日ロシア情報機関員が民間企業の技術者をターゲットとして先端科学技術を違法に入手していた事件を摘発しています。また、平成20年には、国際原子力機関(IAEA)が、北朝鮮の核処理施設における視察をした際、日本製の真空排気装置を発見したことを端緒に捜査を開始し、台湾経由による北朝鮮向け真空ポンプ等の不正輸出事件を摘発しました。

    ここでは、これら対日有害活動の一部を紹介し、我が国の国益を害する不法行為に関する 情報提供をお願いしています。
    rest at above website

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Labor issues, 日本語 | 18 Comments »

    Kyodo: NJ crime down once again, but NPA spin says NJ crime gangs “increasingly” targeting Japan, whines about difficulty in statistically measuring NJ crime

    Posted on Saturday, July 24th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Here’s the semiannual NPA NJ crime propaganda campaign, claiming once again some kind of “increase”.  Before, we had decreases in crime depicted as an increase, depending on what crime you looked at or what language the article was in.  Now it’s the NPA, in the face of a 40% admitted drop in “NJ criminals rounded up” since  2004, giving the spin of doubting its own statistics.  What’s next, saying NJ are more likely to commit crime because of their criminal DNA?  (Actually, Tokyo Gov Ishihara beat them to that nearly a decade ago; dead record due to Tony Laszlo’s Issho Kikaku, so Japanese here.)

    Here’s the report being referred to in pdf format:

    http://www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai6/rainichi.pdf

    Note how last month’s police raids of NJ junkyard businesses was done in time  for the survey.  Gotta say something, act as though they’re doing something, even if it doesn’t seem like they found much.

    Also note how on the bottom of page two of the report, they give a definition that the “gaikokujin” they’re referring to are not those here with PR status, the Zainichi, the US military, or “those with unclear Statuses of Residence” (what, refugees?  certainly not visa overstayers).  Okay.  Pity the media doesn’t mention that.  Nor is it mentioned that although this report is supposed to deal with “international crime”, it is just titled “Rainichi Gaikokujin Hanzai no Kenkyo Joukyou” (lit. The Situation of Cases of Crimes by Foreigners Coming to Japan).  I guess just talking about garden-variety crime by NJ (back in the day when it was allegedly going up) isn’t convenient anymore.  You have to narrow the focus to find the crime and shoot the fish in the proverbial barrel — it gets the headlines that attribute crime to nationality, even somehow allows you to doubt your own statistics.  Moreover enables you to claim a budget to “establish a system in which investigators across the nation would be able to work in an integrated manner to counter crimes committed by foreigners” (as opposed to an integrated manner to counter crimes in general).

    More on the issue at Debito.org here.  Let’s see what the NPA spin is next time.  Fascinatingly bad science.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    //////////////////////////////////////////

    NPA says foreign crime groups increasingly targeting Japan
    Kyodo News Friday 23rd July, 2010, Courtesy of JK and KG and many others

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/npa-says-foreign-crime-groups-increasingly-targeting-japan

    TOKYO — International criminal organizations are increasingly targeting Japan as members of such groups, the locations where they commit crimes and their victims have become more multinational, the National Police Agency said in its white paper released Friday.

    While members of foreign crime groups have tended to stay in Japan for a short period of time to steal or engage in other criminal activities then flee overseas, such groups are now coordinating with crime syndicates in Japan and repeatedly committing crimes using existing ‘‘criminal infrastructure,’’ according to the annual paper.

    In analyzing the globalization of crime, the document points to underground banks, groups specializing in arranging fake marriages and scrap yards in the suburbs as examples of such infrastructure.

    Police inspected in June a total of more than 400 yards in Japan. One reason was to see whether they were being used as a base for global criminal activities. Some scrap yards were found to have been used to disassemble stolen cars and heavy machinery to export parts.

    The number of foreigners rounded up last year on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities was about 13,200, down roughly 40% from 2004 when the number peaked.

    ‘‘The extent of how much crime has become globalized cannot be grasped through statistics,’’ the paper says, attributing part of the reason to difficulties in solving crimes committed by foreigners—which are more likely to be carried out by multiple culprits than those committed by Japanese.

    To counter the trend, the agency set up in February an office specializing in collecting and analyzing intelligence on crimes committed by foreigners.

    It aims to establish a system in which investigators across the nation would be able to work in an integrated manner to counter crimes committed by foreigners.

    ENDS

    /////////////////////////////////////

    UPDATE

    Foreign criminals building up Japanese operations, threatening public order: NPA
    (Mainichi Japan) July 23, 2010 Courtesy of MS
    Globe-spanning foreign criminal organizations have secretly been building up their operations in Japan in recent years, according to a National Police Agency (NPA) white paper for fiscal 2010 submitted to the Cabinet on July 23.

    According to a special “globalized crime” section of the report, the types of crimes perpetrated by foreigners in Japan are changing at the same time as criminal activity involving the movement of people money and the flow of information over borders is building — presenting what the agency emphasizes is “a threat to public order.”

    The globalization of crime “could very well cause a tectonic shift in the public order of our nation,” the report declares. “From this point on, law enforcers are required to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner.”

    Previously, crimes perpetrated by foreigners tended to be of the “hit and run” variety, committed during short-term stays in Japan and followed with the criminal fleeing the country. However, in recent years, cases of global foreign criminal organizations targeting Japan, and the formation of criminal groups in Japan made up of foreigners from many countries, have been conspicuous — a trend dubbed “the globalization of crime.”

    As an example, the report cites a 2007 tear gas spray attack on a jewelry store clerk and theft of a 280 million yen tiara from the shop in Tokyo’s Ginza area by a Montenegrin group called the “Pink Panther” gang. It also details a 2006-2009 scam by a primarily Nigerian group that used fake credit cards to buy electronics from volume dealers, which they then sold to used electronics shops. Another example is a Pakistani, Cameroonian, Sri Lankan and Japanese group which stole heavy construction equipment in some 500 cases from 2002 to 2008, dismantled them and exported the parts.

    There are also cases of foreigners involved in drug dealing, smuggling counterfeit goods, Internet-based computer hacking and money laundering, and some of them in connection with Japan’s own yakuza criminal organizations.

    This year, the NPA is formulating a strategy to counter the globalized crime trend, and has set up a special “globalized crime countermeasures” unit. The agency is also strengthening cooperation and information exchanges with foreign public security agencies via diplomatic channels and Interpol. It is also building on extradition treaties for the smooth extradition of criminals.
    ENDS

    警察白書:「グローバル化」脅威に 外国人犯罪に焦点

    毎日新聞 2010年7月23日

    http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20100723k0000e040042000c.html

    警察庁は23日、10年版警察白書を閣議に報告した。特集「犯罪のグローバル化と警察の取り組み」を組み、世界的規模の犯罪組織が近年、日本で暗躍する実態を解説した。国境を超えた人、カネ、情報の行き来が活発になるなか、外国人犯罪に質的な変化が起きていると指摘。「治安への脅威になっている」と強調している。【鮎川耕史】

    従来の外国人犯罪は、短期滞在の在留資格で来日し、犯行後すぐに海外に逃走する「ヒット・アンド・アウエー」型が典型だった。

    最近は、世界規模で活動する組織が日本を標的にするケースや、多国籍のメンバーで組織を構成しているケースが目立ち、「犯罪のグローバル化」と呼ばれている。

    象徴的な事件として白書は、モンテネグロ人らの組織「ピンクパンサー」が東京・銀座の貴金属店で店員に催涙スプレーを吹きかけ、2億8000万円相当のティアラ(王冠形の髪飾り)を奪った事件(07年)▽ナイジェリア人を中心とするグループが、偽造クレジットカードで家電量販店からだまし取った電化製品を古物商で換金していた事件(06~09年)▽パキスタン人、カメルーン人、スリランカ人、日本人で構成するグループが、自動車や建設用重機を狙って約500件の窃盗を繰り返し、「ヤード」と呼ばれる作業場で解体したうえ、海外へ輸出していた事件(02~08年)--などを挙げている。

    覚せい剤の密売、偽ブランド品の密輸、インターネット上の不正アクセス、マネーロンダリングでもグローバル化は進み、日本の暴力団とのつながりが判明した事件もある。

    警察庁は今年、犯罪のグローバル化に対する戦略プランを策定し、情報の収集・分析を担当する「犯罪のグローバル化対策室」を発足させた。国際刑事警察機構(ICPO)や外交ルートを通じた外国治安当局との情報交換や捜査協力も強化。国外に逃亡した容疑者の特定や所在の確認、犯罪人引き渡し条約に基づく引き渡しなどでも連携を深めている。

    白書は「(犯罪のグローバル化は)わが国の治安に地殻変動を引き起こす要因となりかねない。今後、組織をあげて的確に取り組むことが求められる」としている。

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Issho.org/Tony Laszlo, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 4 Comments »

    Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column April 6, 2010 prints my speech to UN Rep Bustamante on “blind spot” re Japan immigrants

    Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    JUST BE CAUSE
    Japan, U.N. share blind spot on ‘migrants’
    By DEBITO ARUDOU
    The Japan Times: Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100406ad.html
    Original Version with links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=6233

    On March 23, I gave a speech to Jorge Bustamante, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, for NGO FRANCA regarding racial discrimination in Japan. Text follows:

    I wish to speak about the treatment of those of “foreign” origin and appearance in Japan, such as white and non-Asian people. Simply put, we are not officially registered — or even counted sometimes — as genuine residents. We are not treated as taxpayers, not protected as consumers, not seen as ethnicities even in the national census. According to government polls and surveys, we do not even deserve the same human rights as Japanese. The view of “foreigner” as “only temporary in Japan” is a blind spot even the United Nations seems to share, but I will get to that later.

    First, an overview: The number of non-Japanese (NJ) on visas of three months or longer has increased since 1990 from about 1 million to over two. Permanent residents (PR) number over 1 million, meaning about half of all registered NJ can stay here forever. Given how hard PR is to get — about five years if married to a Japanese, 10 years if not — a million NJ permanent residents are clearly not a temporary part of Japanese society.

    Moreover, this does not count the estimated half-million or so naturalized Japanese citizens (I am one of them). Nor does this count children of international marriages, about 40,000 annually. Mathematically, if each couple has two children, eventually that will mean 80,000 more ethnically diverse Japanese children; over a decade, 800,000 — almost a million again. Not all of these children of diverse backgrounds will “look Japanese.”

    What’s more, we don’t know Japan’s true diversity because the Census Bureau only surveys for nationality. This means when I fill out the census, I write down “Japanese” for my nationality, but I cannot indicate my ethnicity as a “white Japanese,” or a “Japanese of American extraction” (amerikakei nihonjin). I believe this is by design — because the politics of identity in Japan are all about “monoculturality and monoethnicity.” Given modern Japan’s emerging immigration and assimilation, this is a fiction. The official conflation of Japanese nationality and ethnicity is incorrect, yet our government refuses to collect data that would correct that.

    The point is we cannot tell who is “Japanese” just by looking at them. This means that whenever distinctions are made between “foreigner” and “Japanese,” be it police racial profiling or “Japanese only” signs, some Japanese citizens will also be affected. Thus we need a law against racial discrimination in Japan — not only because it will help noncitizens assimilate into Japan, but also because it will protect Japanese against xenophobia, bigotry and exclusionism, against the discrimination that is “deep and profound” and “practiced undisturbed in Japan,” according to U.N. Rapporteur Doudou Diene in 2005 and 2006.

    There are some differences in viewpoint between my esteemed colleagues here today and the people I am trying to speak for. Japan’s minorities as definable under the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), including Ainu, Ryukyuans, zainichi special-permanent- resident ethnic Koreans and Chinese, and burakumin, will speak to you as people who have been here for a long time — much longer than people like me, of course. Their claims are based upon time-honored and genuine grievances that have never been properly redressed. For ease of understanding, I will call them the “oldcomers.”

    I will try to speak on behalf of the “newcomers,” i.e., people who came here relatively recently to make a life in Japan. Of course both oldcomers and newcomers contribute to Japanese society, in terms of taxes, service and culture, for example. But it is we newcomers who really need a Japanese law against racial discrimination, because we, the people who are seen because of our skin color as “foreigners,” are often singled out for our own variant of discriminatory treatment. Examples in brief:

    1. HOUSING, ACCOMMODATION

    One barrier many newcomers face is finding an apartment. According to the Mainichi Shimbun (Jan. 8), on average in Tokyo it takes 15 visits to realtors for an NJ to find an apartment. Common experience — this is all we have because there is no government study of the problem — dictates that agents generally phrase the issue to landlords as, “The renter is a foreigner, is that OK?” This overt discrimination happens with impunity in Japan. One Osaka realtor even advertises apartments as “gaijin allowed,” a sales point at odds with the status quo. People who face discriminatory landlords can only take them to court. This means years, money for lawyers and court fees, and an uncertain outcome — when all you need is a place to live, now.

    Another barrier is hotels. Lodgings are expressly forbidden by Hotel Management Law Article 5 to refuse customers unless rooms are full, there is a clear threat of contagious disease, or an issue of “public morals.” However, government surveys indicate that 27 percent of all Japanese hotels do not want foreign guests, period. Not to be outdone, Fukushima Prefecture Tourist Information advertised the fact that 318 of their member hotels refuse NJ. Thus even when a law technically forbids exclusionism, the government will not enforce it. On the contrary, official bodies will even promote excluders.

    2. RACIAL PROFILING BY POLICE

    Another rude awakening happens when NJ walk down the street. All NJ (but not citizens) must carry ID cards at all times or face possible criminal charges and incarceration. So Japanese police will target and stop people who “look foreign” in public, sometimes forcefully and rudely, and demand personal identification. This very alienating process of “carding” can happen when walking while white, cycling while foreign-looking, using public transportation while multiethnic, or waiting for arrivals at airports while colored. One person has apparently been “carded,” sometimes through physical force, more than 50 times in one year, and 125 times over 10 years.

    Police justify this as a hunt for foreign criminals and visa over-stayers, or cite special security measures or campaigns. However, these “campaigns” are products of government policies depicting NJ as “terrorists, criminals and carriers of infectious diseases.” None of these things, of course, is contingent upon nationality. Moreover, since 2007, all noncitizens are fingerprinted every time they re-enter Japan. This includes newcomer PRs, going further than the US-VISIT program, which does not refingerprint Green Card holders. However, the worst example of bad social science is the National Research Institute of Police Science, which spends taxpayer money on researching “foreign DNA” for racial profiling at crime scenes.

    In sum, Japan’s police see NJ as “foreign agents” in both senses of the word. They are systematically taking measures to deal with NJ as a social problem, not as fellow residents or immigrants.

    3. EXCLUSION AS ‘RESIDENTS’

    Japan’s registration system, meaning the current koseki family registry and juminhyo residency certificate systems, refuse to list NJ as “spouse” or “family member” because they are not citizens. Officially, NJ residing here are not registered as “residents” (jumin), even though they pay residency taxes (juminzei) like anyone else. Worse, some local governments (such as Tokyo’s Nerima Ward) do not even count NJ in their population tallies. This is the ultimate in invisibility, and it is government-sanctioned.

    4. ‘JAPANESE ONLY’ EXCLUSION

    With no law against racial discrimination, “No foreigners allowed” signs have appeared nationwide, at places such as stores, restaurants, hotels, public bathhouses, bars, discos, an eyeglass outlet, a ballet school, an Internet cafe, a billiards hall, a women’s boutique — even in publicity for a newspaper subscription service. Regardless, the government has said repeatedly to the U.N. that Japan does not need a racial discrimination law because of our effective judicial system. That is untrue.

    For example, in the Otaru onsen case (1999-2005), where two NJ and one naturalized Japanese (myself) were excluded from a public bathhouse, judges refused to rule these exclusions were illegal due to racial discrimination. They called it “unrational discrimination.” Moreover, the judiciary refused to enforce relevant international treaty as law, or punish the negligent Otaru City government for ineffective measures against racial discrimination. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

    Furthermore, in 2006, an openly racist shopkeeper refused an African-American customer entry, yet the Osaka District Court ruled in favor of the owner! Japan needs a criminal law, with enforceable punishments, because the present judicial system will not fix this.

    5. UNFETTERED HATE SPEECH

    There is also the matter of the cyberbullying of minorities and prejudiced statements made by our politicians over the years. Other NGOs will talk more about the anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech during the current debate about granting local suffrage rights to permanent residents.

    I would instead like to briefly mention some media, such as the magazine “Underground Files of Crimes by Gaijin” (Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (2007)) and “PR Suffrage will make Japan Disappear” (Gaikokujin Sanseiken de Nihon ga Nakunaru Hi (2010)). Both these books stretch their case to talk about an innate criminality or deviousness in the foreign element, and “Underground Files” even cites things that are not crimes, such as dating Japanese women. It also includes epithets like “nigger,” racist caricatures and ponderings on whether Korean pudenda smell like kimchi. This is hate speech. And it is not illegal in Japan. You could even find it on sale in convenience stores.

    CONCLUSION

    In light of all the above, the Japanese government’s stance towards the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is easily summarized: The Ainu, Ryukyuans and burakumin are citizens, therefore they don’t fall under the CERD because they are protected by the Japanese Constitution. However, the zainichis and newcomers are not citizens, therefore they don’t get protection from the CERD either. Thus, our government effectively argues, the CERD does not cover anyone in Japan.

    Well, what about me? Or our children? Are there really no ethnic minorities with Japanese citizenship in Japan?

    In conclusion, I would like to thank the U.N. for investigating our cases. On March 16, the CERD Committee issued some very welcome recommendations in its review. However, may I point out that the U.N. still made a glaring oversight.

    During the committee’s questioning of Japan last Feb. 24 and 25, very little mention was made of the CERD’s “unenforcement” in Japan’s judiciary and criminal code. Furthermore, almost no mention was made of “Japanese only” signs, the most indefensible violations of the CERD.

    Both Japan and the U.N. have a blind spot in how they perceive Japan’s minorities. Newcomers are never couched as residents of or immigrants to Japan, but rather as “foreign migrants.” The unconscious assumption seems to be that 1) foreign migrants have a temporary status in Japan, and 2) Japan has few ethnically diverse Japanese citizens.

    Time for an update. Look at me. I am a Japanese. The government put me through a very rigorous and arbitrary test for naturalization, and I passed it. People like me are part of Japan’s future. When the U.N. makes their recommendations, please have them reflect how Japan must face up to its multicultural society. Please recognize us newcomers as a permanent part of the debate.

    The Japanese government will not. It says little positive about us, and allows very nasty things to be said by our politicians, policymakers and police. It’s about time we all recognized the good that newcomers are doing for our home, Japan. Please help us.

    =====================

    Debito Arudou coauthored the “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants.” Twitter arudoudebito. More on this meeting and photos at http://www.debito.org/?p=6256. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////

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    Rough draft text of my speech to UN Rep Bustamante Mar 23 in Tokyo

    Posted on Friday, March 19th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. What follows is a rough draft of the text of the speech I’ll be giving on Tues, March 23, before a United Nations rep. I have twenty minutes tops. I read this at a normal pace aloud today and it came about sixteen minutes. Eight pages, 2500 words, written in a conversational style. FYI. Thanks for your support, and see you at the upcoming FRANCA meetings this Sunday and next Saturday. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ////////////////////////////////////////

    Statements to Mr Bustamante, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, in Tokyo, March 23, 2010, by ARUDOU Debito, Chair, Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association (FRANCA, www.francajapan.org), regarding racial discrimination in Japan.

    This document may be downloaded at http://www.debito.org/ArudouBustamantestatement032310.doc

    The powerpoint accompanying this presentation may be downloaded at http://www.debito.org/FRANCABustamantepresentation032310.ppt

    Table of contents for the belowmentioned “blue folder” with links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=6201


    First, let me thank Mr. Bustamante and the United Nations for their attention to the situation of minorities and disenfranchised peoples in Japan.  There are very few effective forums in Japan for us to take our grievances, and we all very much appreciate the Special Rapporteur hearing as many sides of the story as possible.

    I wish to focus on the situation of peoples of “foreign” origin and appearance, such as White and non-Asian peoples like me, and how we tend to be treated in Japanese society.  Put simply, we are not officially registered or even counted sometimes as genuine residents.  We are not treated as taxpayers, not protected as consumers, not seen as ethnicities even in the national census.  We not even regarded as deserving of the same human rights as Japanese, according to government-sponsored opinion polls and human rights surveys (blue folder items I-1, I-6 and III-6).  This view of “foreigner” as “only temporary in Japan” is a blind spot even the United Nations seems to share, but I’ll get that later.

    Here is a blue 500-page information folder I will give you after my talk, with primary source materials, articles, reference papers, and testimonials from other people in Japan who would like their voice heard.  It will substantiate what I will be saying in summary below.

    To start off, here is an overview of our presence in Japan.  According to official figures, the number of Non-Japanese on 3-month visas and up in Japan has grown since 1990 from about one million to over two million.  The number of Permanent Residents has reached record numbers, of over one million.  In other words, about half of all registered Non-Japanese in Japan can stay here permanently.  I would like to point out here how difficult it is to receive Permanent Residency in Japan.  It takes about five years if you are married to a Japanese, ten years if you are not.  The point is, a million Non-Japanese Permanent Residents are not a “temporary” segment of Japanese society.

    Moreover, this does not count the estimated 300,000 to 500,000 naturalized Japanese citizens since the 1960’s.  I am one of those naturalized Japanese citizens.  Nor does this count the international families from Non-Japanese marrying Japanese.  We have about 40,000 international marriages every year, a significant increase from the 30,000 per year a decade ago.  If each couple has two children over their lifetime, which is not an unreasonable assumption, eventually that means 80,000 ethnically-diverse Japanese children.  Over ten years, that adds up to 800,000 – almost a million again.  However, not all of these children will “look Japanese”.

    Sadly, we don’t know how many children, or people, of diverse backgrounds with Japanese citizenship are out there, because the Japanese Census does not survey for ethnicity.  The Japanese Census only surveys for nationality, despite our repeated requests for the census to reflect Japan’s diversity.  Meaning, when I fill out the Census, I write down “Japanese” for my nationality, but there is no way for me to indicate that I am a “Caucasian Japanese”, or an “Japanese of American extraction” (amerika kei nihonjin).  I believe this is by design, because the politics of identity in Japan are “monoculturality and monoethnicity”.  This is simply a fiction.  It wasn’t true in the past, and with modern Japan’s emerging immigration, assimilation, and ethnic diversity, it’s even less true now.  The official conflation of Japanese nationality and ethnicity is incorrect, and our government is willfully refusing to collect any data that would correct that.

    The point is, the lines have blurred to the point where we cannot tell who is “Japanese” any more just by looking at them.  This means any time we have any distinctions made between “foreigner” and “Japanese”, be it police racial profiling or “Japanese Only” signs, it will also affect some Japanese citizens too.  This is why we need a law against racial discrimination in Japan – not only because it will help non-citizens assimilate into Japan, but also it will protect Japanese against xenophobia, bigotry, and exclusionism.  Discrimination that is “deep and profound”, and “practiced undisturbed in Japan”, according to UN Rapporteur Doudou Diene in 2005 and 2006[1].

    At this point, I would like to show some differences in standpoint, between my esteemed colleagues and minorities being represented today, and the people I am trying to speak for.  The minorities in Japan as defined under the CERD, including the Ainu, the Ryūkyūans, the Zainichi Special Permanent Resident ethnic Koreans and Chinese, and the Burakumin, will be speaking to you this week and next as people who have been here for a long time, much longer than people like me, of course.  They make their claims based upon time-honored and genuine grievances that have never been properly redressed.  For ease of understanding, I will call some of them the “Oldcomers”.  I am here on behalf of what I will call the “Newcomers”, people who have come here from other countries relatively recently, to make a life in Japan.  Both “Oldcomers” and “Newcomers” contribute to Japanese society, including taxes, service, and culture.  But it is we “Newcomers” who really need the protections of a Japanese law against racial discrimination, because we, the people who are seen because of our skin color as “foreigners” in Japan, are often singled out and targeted for our own special variety of discriminatory treatment.

    Here are examples I will talk briefly about now:

    1) Discrimination in housing and accommodation

    2) Racial Profiling by Japanese Police, through policies officially depicting Non-Japanese as criminals, terrorists, and carriers of infectious disease

    3) Refusal to be registered or counted as residents by the Japanese Government

    4) “Japanese Only” exclusions in businesses open to the public

    5) Objects of unfettered hate speech

    All of these examples are substantiated in the blue information folder, but again, words in brief about each item.

    1) Discrimination in housing and accommodation

    One of the first barriers many Newcomers face in Japan is the daunting prospect of finding an apartment.  According to the Mainichi Shimbun (Jan 8 2010[2]), on average in Tokyo it takes 15 visits to realtors for a Non-Japanese to find an apartment.   Common experience — and this is all we have because there is no government study of this problem — dictates that the agent generally phrases the issue to landlords as, “The renter is a foreigner, but is that okay?”  This overt discrimination happens with complete impunity in Japan.  One Osaka realtor[3] even advertises apartments as “gaijin allowed”, thus an option at odds with the status quo.  Again, there is no national government body collecting information on this problem, or hearing grievances.  The people who face discriminatory landlords can only take them to court.  This means years, money for lawyers and court fees, and an uncertain outcome, when all you need is a place to live, now.

    Another issue is hotels.  They are expressly forbidden by the Hotel Management Law Article 5 to refuse customers unless rooms are full, there is a clear threat of contagious disease, or a clear threat to “public morals” (as in pornography).  However, government surveys, according to CNN et.al, (Oct 9, 2008[4]), indicate that 27% of all Japanese hotels don’t want foreign guests.  Not to be outdone, the Fukushima Prefecture Tourist Information website until last January advertised, as per their own preset options, that 318 of their member hotels were all refusing Non-Japanese[5], even though this is clearly illegal.  Thus even when a law technically forbids exclusionism, it is not enforced.  Excluders even get promoted by the authorities.

    2) Racial Profiling by Japanese Police

    Another rude awakening happens when you walk down the street.  Japanese police will stop you in public, sometimes rudely demand your ID card (which all foreigners – only — must carry at all times or face incarceration and criminal prosecution), and record your personal details.  This can be for walking while White, cycling while foreign-looking, using public transportation while multiethnic, or standing waiting for arrivals at airports while colored.  In one person’s case, he has been “carded”, sometimes through physical force, more than 50 times in one year, as of today exactly 125 times over ten years (blue folder item I-2).

    The police claim they are hunting for foreign criminals and visa overstayers, or there are special security measures or campaigns in place, etc.  However, you can see in the blue folder, this is an extension of the depiction of Non-Japanese in official government policies as “terrorists, criminals, and carriers of infectious diseases” (items II-9 through 11).  None of these things are contingent on nationality.  Consequently, after 2007 all non-citizens must be fingerprinted every time they re-enter Japan.  This includes the “Newcomer” Permanent Residents, which goes farther than its model, the US-VISIT program this, which does not refingerprint Green Card holders.  The epitome of bad physical and social science must be the National Research Institute of Police Science, which has received years of government grants to research “foreign DNA”, for more effective racial profiling at crime scenes (see blue folder item II-2).

    In sum, thanks to national policy justifying racial profiling, the Japanese police are seeing non-Japanese as “foreign agents” in both senses of the word.  They are systematically taking measures to deal with them as a social problem, not a fellow resident or immigrant.  Furthermore, it goes without saying that enforcement depends upon personal appearance, as I too have been racially profiled on several occasions by police in public.

    3) Refusal to be counted as residents by the Japanese Government

    It is too complicated to talk about fully here (see blue folder, item III-1), but Japan’s registration system, meaning the current Koseki Family Registry and the Jūminhyō Residency Certificate systems, refuse to list Non-Japanese as “spouse” — or even “family member”.  Because they are not citizens.  In sum, officially Non-Japanese residents are not “residents” (jūmin), even though they pay Residency Taxes (jūminzei) like anyone else.  Worse, some local governments (such as Tokyo Nerima Ward[6]) do not even count Non-Japanese in their population tallies.  This is the ultimate in invisibility, and it is government-sanctioned.

    4) “Japanese Only” exclusions in businesses open to the public

    Since Japan has no law against racial discrimination, there have been signs up nationwide at places open to the general public, saying “Japanese Only”, “No Foreigners allowed”, etc. (blue folder item III-1).  Places enforcing exclusionary rules include stores, restaurants, hotels, family public bathhouses, bars, discos, an eyeglass outlet, a ballet school, an internet café, a billiards hall, a women’s boutique, and a newspaper subscription service.  Nevertheless, the government has said repeatedly to the UN that we don’t a racial discrimination law because we have an effective judicial system.  That is untrue.  In the Otaru Onsens Case (1999-2005, blue folder items III-1 and III-7), where two Non-Japanese and one naturalized Japanese were excluded from a public bathhouse, judges refused to rule that this activity was illegal due to racial discrimination.  They called it “unrational discrimination”.  Moreover, they refused to enforce the CERD as law, or sanction the negligent Otaru City government for not taking effective measures against racial discrimination.  The Supreme Court even refused to hear the case.  Furthermore, in 2006, an African-American was refused entry into an eyeglass store by an openly racist owner, yet the Osaka District Court ruled in favor of the owner!   We need a criminal law, with enforceable punishments, because the present judicial system will not fix this.

    5) Objects of unfettered hate speech

    The blue folder talks more about cyberbullying of minorities and prejudiced statements made by our politicians over the years.  Other NGOs will talk more about the anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech during the current debate about granting local suffrage rights to Permanent Residents.  I would instead like to briefly mention some media, such as magazine “Underground Files of Crimes by Gaijin [sic]” (Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (2007), blue folder item III-2), or “PR Suffrage will make Japan Disappear” (Gaikokujin Sanseiken de Nihon ga Nakunaru Hi) (2010[7]).  Both of these books stretch their case to talk about an innate criminality or deviousness in the foreign element, and “Underground Files of  Crimes” even includes things that are not crimes, such as dating Japanese women.  It even includes epithets like “nigger”, racist caricatures, and ponderings on whether Korean pudenda smell like kimchi.  This is hate speech.  And it is not illegal in Japan.

    =========================

    To summarize, the Japanese government’s stance towards the CERD is simple (blue folder item VI-1).  The Ainu, Ryūkūans, and Burakumin are citizens, therefore they don’t need CERD protection because they are protected by the Japanese Constitution.  However, the Zainichis and “Newcomers” are not citizens, therefore they don’t get protection from the CERD.  Therefore, our government effectively argues, the CERD does not cover anyone in Japan.

    Yeah, well what about me?  Or our children?  Are there really no ethnic minorities with Japanese citizenship in Japan?

    In conclusion, I would like to thank the United Nations and their Rapporteurs for investigating our cases.  The CERD Committee on March 16, 2010 (CERD/C/JPN/CO/3-6), issued some very welcome recommendations.  However, and I would like to go back to something I said in the beginning, that the UN has a blind spot in these negotiations.

    In the CERD Committee’s discussions with the Japanese government in Geneva on February 24 and 25, 2010, very little mention was made of the CERD’s non-enforcement in Japan’s judiciary and criminal code.   Almost no mention was made of Japan’s “Japanese Only” signs.  These are the most indefensible violation of the CERD.

    The problem is, both sides, both Japan and the UN, have a blind spot in how they perceive Japan’s “minorities”.  Non-Japanese were never couched as residents of or immigrants to Japan, but rather as “foreign migrants”.  The unconscious assumption seems to be that 1) “foreign migrants” have a “temporary status” in Japan (particularly when Japan’s reps portrayed ethnic schools for Non-Japanese as for “foreign children in Japan only for the short stay”), and 2) Japan has few “ethnically diverse Japanese citizens”.

    Look, it’s time for an update.  Look at me.  I am a Japanese.  Like any other.  Because the government put me through a very rigorous and arbitrary test for naturalization and I passed it.  People like me are part of Japan’s future.  Please, when you make your recommendations, have them reflect how Japan has changed, and how Japan must face up to its multicultural society already in place.  Please, recognize us “Newcomers” as a permanent part of the debate.  The Japanese government still will not.  They say little that is positive about us.  And they allow very nasty things to be said by our politicians, policymakers, and police.

    It’s about time we all recognized the good things that we “Newcomers” too are doing for our home, Japan.  Please help us.

    ENDS


    [1] www.debito.org/rapporteur.html

    [2] www.debito.org/?p=5703

    [3] www.debito.org/?p=723

    [4] www.debito.org/?p=1940

    [5] www.debito.org/?p=5619

    [6] www.debito.org/?p=1972

    [7] www.debito.org/?p=6182

    ENDS

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    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, FRANCA, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Speech materials, United Nations | 25 Comments »

    Table of Contents of FRANCA information folder to UN Spec. Rapporteur Bustamante, Mar 23. Last call for submissions from Debito.org Readers.

    Posted on Monday, March 15th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  What follows is the Table of Contents for an information packet I will be presenting Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants Jorge A. Bustamante, who will be visiting Japan and holding hearings on the state of discrimination in Japan.  Presented on behalf of our NGO FRANCA (Sendai and Tokyo meetings on Sun Mar 21 and Sat Mar 27 respectively).

    It’s a hefty packet of about 500 pages printed off or so, but I will keep a couple of pockets at the back for Debito.org Readers who would like to submit something about discrimination in Japan they think the UN should hear.  It can be anonymous, but better would be people who provide contact details about themselves.

    Last call for that.  Two pages A4 front and back, max (play with the fonts and margins if you like).  Please send to debito@debito.org by NOON JST Thursday March 18, so I can print it on my laser printer and slip it in the back.

    Here’s what I’ll be giving as part of an information pack.  I haven’t written my 20-minute presentation for March 23 yet, but thanks for all your feedback on that last week, everyone.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    (FRANCA LETTERHEAD)

    To Mr. Jorge Bustamante, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants:

    Date: March 23, 2010  Tokyo, Japan

    Thank you for coming to Japan and hearing our side of the story.  We have a lot to say and few domestic forums that will listen to us.  –ARUDOU Debito, Chair, FRANCA Japan (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)

    ANNOTATED CONTENTS OF THIS FOLDER:

    Referential documents and articles appear in the following order:

    I. On Government-sponsored Xenophobia and Official-level Resistance to Immigration

    This section will seek to demonstrate that discrimination is not just a societal issue.  It is something promoted by the Japanese government as part of official policy.

    1. OVERVIEW:  Japan Times article:  “THE MYOPIC STATE WE’RE IN:  Fingerprint scheme exposes xenophobic, short-sighted trend in government” (December 18, 2007).  Point:  How government policy is hard-wiring the Japanese public into fearing and blaming Non-Japanese for Japan’s social ills. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071218zg.html
    2. Japan Times article, “Beware the Foreigner as Guinea Pig“, on how denying rights to one segment of the population (NJ) affects everyone badly, as policies that damage civil liberties, once tested on Non-Japanese residents, eventually get applied to citizens too (July 8, 2008). http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080708zg.html
    3. Japan Times article:  “THE BLAME GAME:  Convenience, creativity seen in efforts to scapegoat Japan’s foreign community” (August 28, 2007), depicting foreigners as criminal invaders, and thwarting their ability to assimilate properly. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20070828zg.html
    4. Japan Times article: “VISA VILLAINS: Japan’s new Immigration law overdoes enforcement and penalties” (June 29, 2004) http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20040629zg.html
    5. Japan Times article, “Demography vs. Demagoguery“, on how politics has pervaded Japanese demographic science, making “immigration” a taboo for discussion as a possible solution to Japan’s aging society. (November 3, 2009) http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20091103ad.html
    6. Japan Times article: “HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY STINKS:  Government effort riddled with bias, bad science” (October 23, 2007), talking about how official government surveys render human rights “optional” for Non-Japanese, and downplays the discrimination against them. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071023zg.html
    7. Japan Times article: “WATCHING THE DETECTIVES: Japan’s human rights bureau falls woefully short of meeting its own job specifications” (July 8, 2003), on how the oft-touted Ministry of Justice’s “Jinken Yōgobu” is in fact a Potemkin System, doing little to assist those with human rights issues in Japan. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20030708zg.html
    8. Japan Times article, “Unlike Humans, Swine Flu is Indiscriminate“, on the lessons to be learned from Japan’s public panic from the Swine Flu Pandemic, and how to avoid discrimination once again from arising (August 4, 2009). http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20090804ad.html
    9. Japan Times article, “Golden parachutes for Nikkei only mark failure of race-based policy“, on the downfall of Japan’s labor visa policies, e.g., the “April 2009 repatriation bribe” for the Nikkei Brazilians and Peruvians, sending them “home” with a pittance instead of treating them like laborers who made investments and contributions to Japan’s welfare and pension systems. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090407ad.html

    II. On Abuses of Police Power and Racial Profiling vis-à-vis Non-Japanese

    This section will seek to demonstrate that one arm of the government, the National Police Agency, has had a free hand in generating a fictitious “Foreign Crime Wave of the 2000s”, by characterizing Non-Japanese in the media as criminals, exaggerating or falsifying foreign crime reportage, bending laws to target them, engaging in flagrant racial profiling of minorities, and otherwise “making Japan the world’s safest country again” by portraying the foreign element as unsafe.

    1. Japan Times article: “DOWNLOADABLE DISCRIMINATION: The Immigration Bureau’s new “snitching” Web site is both short-sighted and wide open to all manner of abuses.” (March 30, 2004), on how online submission sites (which still exist) run by the government are open to the general public, for anonymous reporting of anyone who “looks foreign and suspicious” to the police. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20040330zg.html
    2. Japan Times article: “FORENSIC SCIENCE FICTION: Bad science and racism underpin police policy” (January 13, 2004), how the National Research Institute for Police Science has received government grants to study “foreign DNA” (somehow seen as genetically different from all Japanese DNA) for crime scene investigation.   http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?fl20040113zg.htm
    3. 3. Japan Times article:  “FOREIGN CRIME STATS COVER UP A REAL COP OUT:  Published figures are half the story” (Oct 4, 2002), indicating how the National Police Agency is falsifying and exaggerating foreign crime statistics to create the image of Non-Japanese residents as criminals. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20021004zg.html
    4. Japan Times article: “HERE COMES THE FEAR: Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents” (May 24, 2005), showing nascent anti-terrorist policy introduced by the Koizumi Administration specifically targeting Non-Japanese as terrorists. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20050524zg.html
    5. Debito.org Website:  “Ibaraki Prefectural Police put up new and improved public posters portraying Non-Japanese as coastal invaders” (November 20, 2008), and “Ibaraki Police’s third new NJ-scare poster” (July 29, 2009), showing how the Japanese police are putting up public posters portraying the issue as defending Japanese shores from foreign invasion, complete with images of beach storming, riot gear and machine guns.  www.debito.org/?p=2057 and www.debito.org/?p=3996
    6. Japan Times article: “UPPING THE FEAR FACTOR:  There is a disturbing gap between actual crime in Japan and public worry over it” (February 20, 2007), showing the Koizumi policy in full bloom, plus the media’s complicity in abetting the National Police Agency’s generation of a “foreign crime wave”. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20070220zg.html
    7. Japan Times article: “MINISTRY MISSIVE WRECKS RECEPTION: MHLW asks hotels to enforce nonexistent law” (October 18, 2005), http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20051018zg.html and
    8. Japan Times article: “CREATING LAWS OUT OF THIN AIR: Revisions to hotel laws stretched by police to target foreigners” (March 8, 2005), both articles showing how the Japanese police use legal sleight-of-hand to convince hotels to target foreigners for visa and ID checks. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20050308zg.html
    9. Japan Times article: “‘GAIJIN CARD’ CHECKS SPREAD AS POLICE DEPUTIZE THE NATION” (November 13, 2007), showing how extralegal means are being used to expand the “visa dragnets” to people who are not Immigration Officers, or even police officers. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20071113zg.html
    10. Japan Times article, “IC You:  Bugging the Alien“, on the new IC Chip Gaijin Cards and national protests (May 19, 2009), how RFID-chipped ID cards (of which 24/7 carrying for Non-Japanese only is mandatory under criminal law) can be converted into remote tracking devices, for even better racial profiling as technology improves. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20090519zg.html
    11. Japan Times article, “Summit Wicked This Way Comes“, on the Japanese Government’s bad habits brought out by the Hokkaido Toyako 2008 G8 Summit (April 22, 2008) – namely, a clampdown on the peaceful activities of Japan’s civil society, with a focus on targeting people who “look foreign”. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20080422zg.html
    12. Japan Times article, “Forecast:  Rough with ID checks mainly to the north“, focusing on a protest against Hokkaido Police’s egregious racial profiling during the G8 Summit, and how the police dodged media scrutiny and public accountability (July 1, 2008). http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20080701ad.html
    13. Japan Times article, “Cops Crack Down with ‘I Pee’ Checks“, on the Japanese police stretching their authority to demand urine samples from Non-Japanese on the street without warrants (July 7, 2009). http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20090707ad.html
    14. Japan Times article, “PEDAL PUSHERS COP A LOAD ON YASUKUNI DORI: Japan’s low crime rate has many advantages, although harassment by bored cops certainly isn’t one of them” (June 20, 2002), demonstrating how arbitrarily Tokyo police will nab people at night ostensibly for “bicycle ownership checks”, but really for visa checks – if they are riding while “looking foreign”.

    III. On Racism and Hate Speech in Japan

    This section talks about other activities that are not state-sponsored or encouraged, but tolerated in society as “rational” or “reasonable” discrimination, or natural ascriptive social ordering.  These unfettered acts of discrimination towards minorities, decried by previous Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene as “deep and profound”, are examples of why we need a law against racial discrimination and hate speech in Japan.

    1. OVERVIEWNGO Report Regarding the Rights of Non-Japanese Nationals, Minorities of Foreign Origins, and Refugees in Japan (33 pages).  Prepared for the 76th United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Japan, submitted to UNCERD February 2010.  Compiled by Solidarity with Migrants Japan.  Particularly germane to this information packet is Chapter 2 by Arudou Debito, entitled “Race and Nationality-Based Entrance Refusals at Private and Quasi-Public Establishments” (3 pages). http://www.debito.org/?p=6000

    2. Japan Focus paper (14 pages):  “GAIJIN HANZAI MAGAZINE AND HATE SPEECH IN JAPAN:  The newfound power of Japan’s international residents” (March 20, 2007).  This academic paper talks about how a “Foreign Crime Magazine” deliberately distorted data (to the point of accusing Non-Japanese of criminal acts that were not actually crimes), and portrayed Chinese and other minorities as having criminality as part of their innate nature. http://www.japanfocus.org/-Arudou-Debito/2386

    3. Japan Times article, “NJ Suffrage and the Racist Element” (February 2, 2010), on xenophobic Japan Dietmember Hiranuma’s racist statements towards fellow Dietmember Renho (who has Taiwanese roots), and how it lays bare the lie of the xenophobic Rightists demanding people take Japanese citizenship if they want the right to vote in local elections – when it clearly makes no difference to them if they do. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100202ad.html

    4. Japan Times article, “The Issue that dares not speak its name“, on the suppressed debate on racial discrimination in Japan (June 2, 2009), where the term “racial discrimination” itself is not part of the Japanese media’s vocabulary to describe even situations adjudged “racial discrimination” by Japanese courts. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20090602ad.html

    5. Japan Times article:  “HOW TO KILL A BILL:  Tottori’s Human Rights Ordinance is a case study in alarmism” (May 2, 2006), on how Japan’s first prefectural-level ordinance against discrimination was actually unpassed months later, due to a hue and cry over the apparent dangers of giving foreigners too many rights. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20060502zg.html

    6. Academic Paper (Linguapax Asia, forthcoming) (14 pages):  “Propaganda in Japan’s Media:  Manufacturing Consent for National Goals at the Expense of Non-Japanese Residents”, on how government policy, political opportunism, and the Japanese media fomented a fictitious “Foreign Crime Wave” in the 2000s, and how that caused quantifiable social damage to Non-Japanese residents.

    7. Japan Focus paper (2 pages): “JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hotspring Case and Discrimination Against ‘Foreigners’ in Japan” (November 2005), a very brief summary explaining Japan’s first case of racial discrimination that made to the Supreme Court (where it was rejected for consideration), and what it means in terms of Japan’s blind-eying of discrimination. http://japanfocus.org/-Arudou-Debito/1743

    8. Debito.org Website:  “Tokyo Edogawa-ku Liberal Democratic Party flyer, likens granting Permanent Residents the right to vote in local elections to an alien invasion”.  (February 24, 2010)  Seventeen local politicians of the formerly-ruling LDP lend their names against the ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s liberalizing policy, illustrated with a UFO targeting the Japanese archipelago. http://www.debito.org/?p=6182

    9. Debito.org Website:  “More anti-foreigner scare posters and publications, linking Permanent Resident suffrage bill to foreign crime and Chinese invasion”. (March 15, 2010)  Anonymous internet billeters are putting propaganda in home post boxes in Nagoya and Narita, and bookstores are selling books capitalizing on the fear by saying that granting NJ the vote will make Japan “disappear” by turning into a foreign country. http://www.debito.org/?p=6182

    10. Debito.org Website:  Anti-foreign suffrage protests in Shibuya Nov 28 2009. The invective in flyers and banners: “Japan is in danger!” (December 4, 2009).  An overview and summary translation of the invective and arguments being put forth by the xenophobic Far-Right in public demonstrations. http://www.debito.org/?p=5353

    IV. On the Disenfranchisement of the Non-Japanese communities in Japan

    This section touches upon how Non-Japanese minorities are shut out of Japan’s debate arenas, public events, even court rooms, making them largely unable to stand up for themselves and assimilate on their own terms.

    1. Trans Pacific Radio:  “RUMBLE AT THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS – A hearing on human rights is disrupted by right wingers” (September 10, 2007), demonstrating how the government will not stop hate speech from Right-wingers even when it willfully disrupts their official fact-finding meetings. http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/09/10/debito-rumble-at-moj/

    2. Japan Times article, McDonald’s Japan’s “Mr James” campaign:  Why these stereotyping advertisements should be discontinued. (September 1, 2009), showing how McDonald’s, an otherwise racially-tolerant multinational corporation overseas, is able thanks to lax attitudes in Japan to stoop to racial stereotyping to sell product, moreover not engage in constructive public debate about the issues. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20090901ad.html

    3. Japan Times article: “ABUSE, RACISM, LOST EVIDENCE DENY JUSTICE IN VALENTINE CASE: Nigerian’s ordeal shows that different judicial standards apply for foreigners in court” (August 14, 2007), where even foreigners’ testimony is overtly dismissed in court expressly because it is foreign. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20070814zg.html

    4. Japan Times article: “TWISTED LEGAL LOGIC DEALS RIGHTS BLOW TO FOREIGNERS:  McGowan ruling has set a very dangerous precedent” (February 7, 2006), in that a store manager who barred an African-American customer entry, expressly because he dislikes black people, was exonerated in court on a semantic technicality. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20060207zg.html

    5. Japan Times article: “SCHOOLS SINGLE OUT FOREIGN ROOTS: International kids suffer under archaic rules” (July 17, 2007). An article about the “Hair Police” in Japan’s schools, who force Non-Japanese and ethnically-diverse Japanese to dye their natural hair color black. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070717zg.html

    6. Japan Times article: “A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD?: National Sports Festival bars gaijin, and amateur leagues follow suit” (Sept 30, 2003), on Japan’s National Sports Meets (kokutai), and how Japan’s amateur sports leagues refuse Non-Japanese residents’ participation: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20030930zg.html

    7. Asahi Shimbun English-language POINT OF VIEW column, “IF CARTOON KIDS HAVE IT, WHY NOT FOREIGNERS?” (Dec 29, 2003).  A translation of my Nov 8 2003 Asahi Watashi no Shiten column, wondering why cartoon characters and wild sealions (see #9 below) are allowed to be registered as “residents” in Japan under the government’s jūminhyō Residency Certificate system, but not Non-Japanese. http://www.debito.org/asahi122903.jpg

    8. Japan Times article, “FREEDOM OF SPEECH: ‘Tainted blood’ sees ‘foreign’ students barred from English contests” (Jan 6, 2004), with several odd, blood-based rules indicating a belief that foreign ancestry gives people an advantage in terms of language ability – even if the foreign ethnicity is not Anglophone! http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20040106zg.html

    9. Japan Times article on “SEALING THE DEAL ON PUBLIC MEETINGS: Outdoor gatherings are wrapped in red tape.” (March 4, 2003), on the sealion “Tama-chan” issue and demonstrations over the issue of family registry exclusionism (see #7 above).  Why is it so difficult to raise public awareness about minority issues in Japan?  Because police grant permission to public gatherings. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20030304zg.html

    V. On What Japan should do to face its multicultural future

    This section offers suggestions on what Japan ought to be doing:  Engaging immigration, instead of retreating further into a fortress mentality and defaming those who wish to emigrate here.

    1. Japan Focus paper:  “JAPAN’S COMING INTERNATIONALIZATION:  Can Japan assimilate its immigrants?” (January 12, 2006) http://www.japanfocus.org/-Arudou-Debito/2078

    2. Japan Times article, “A Level Playing Field for Immigrants” (December 1, 2009), offering policy proposals to the new DPJ ruling party on how to make Japan a more attractive place for immigration. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20091201ad.html

    3. Japan Focus paper:  “JAPAN’S FUTURE AS AN INTERNATIONAL, MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY: From Migrants to Immigrants” (October 29, 2007) http://www.japanfocus.org/-Arudou-Debito/2559

    4. “Medical Care for Non-Japanese Residents of Japan: Let’s look at Japanese Society’s General ‘Bedside Manner’ First“, Journal of International Health Vol.23, No.1 2008, pgs 19-21. http://www.debito.org/journalintlhealth2008.pdf

    VI. Japan and the United Nations

    1. Academic paper (forthcoming, draft, 21 pages):  “Racial Discrimination in Japan:  Arguments made by the Japanese government to justify the status quo in defiance of United Nations Treaty”.  This paper points out the blind spot in both United Nations and the Japanese government, which continues to overlook the plight of immigrants (viewing them more as temporary migrant workers), and their ethnically-diverse Japanese children, even in their February 2010 UNCERD Review of Japan (please skip to pages 18-19 in the paper).

    2. Japan Times article: “PULLING THE WOOL:  Japan’s pitch for the UN Human Rights Council was disingenuous at best” (November 7, 2006), talking about the disinformation the government was giving the UN in its successful bid to have a leadership post on the newfound HRC. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20061107zg.html

    3. Japan Times article: “RIGHTING A WRONG: United Nations representative Doudou Diene’s trip to Japan has caused a stir” (June 27, 2006). http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20060627zg.html

    VII. OTHER REPORTS FROM CONCERNED PARTIES (emails)

    Topics:  Daycare center teaching “Little Black Sambo” to preschoolers despite requests from international parents to desist, Anonymous statement regarding professional working conditions in Japan for professional and expatriate women (issues of CEDAW), Discriminatory hiring practices at English-language schools (2 cases), Racial profiling at Narita Airport, Harassment of foreign customers by Japanese credit agencies, Hunger strikers at Ibaraki Detention Center, Politician scaremongering regarding a hypothetical  “foreign Arab prince with 50 kids claiming child tax allowance”

    ENDS

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    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Articles & Publications, Exclusionism, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, FRANCA, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Japanese Politics, Labor issues, Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Speech materials, United Nations | 7 Comments »

    More anti-NJ scare posters & publications, linking PR suffrage to foreign crime and Chinese invasion

    Posted on Monday, March 15th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Following up on some previous Debito.org posts (here, here, and here) on how the debate on NJ PR suffrage has devolved into hate speech, here is how bad it’s getting.  We have anonymous flyers appearing in people’s snailmailboxes accusing NJ of being criminals (and linking it to not granting suffrage), fomenting anti-Chinese sentiment with threats of invasion and takeover, and even a book capitalizing on the fear by saying that granting NJ the vote will make Japan disappear.  Read on:

    First up is a notice I received world about on February 28, 2010, from a Nagoya resident.  (click on image to expand in your browser)

    As you can see from the headline, we have the “Beware of Foreign Crime” slogans, with the claim that foreign crime is rising (an outright lie — it’s been falling for years:  sources here, here, and here)).  It asks people to lock their doors properly and be careful of walking alone.  Then it digresses to say that the DPJ is planning to bring in immigrants and grant them suffrage, and that more crimes are anticipated, so protect your family and property by linking your opposition to the NJ PR suffrage bill to crime prevention.  It then asks people to do their own research, using search terms “NJ suffrage” and “danger”, plus “mass media” and “biased reporting”.

    And who put this out?  At the very bottom it just says that these are “internet users” who have woken up to the dangers out there, and are putting this flyer out at their own expense.  They are not in any way affiliated with a group or religion.  They’re just anonymous internet bullies.  (Okay, the last sentence they didn’t the courage of conviction to say:  never mind taking responsibility for their actions — such is the modus operandi of the anonymous bully.)

    Next up:  A flyer that appeared in a person’s snailmailbox in Narita, February 23, 2010: (click on image to expand in your browser)

    Very well rendered in classic easily-understood manga illustration, it zeroes in on the dangers of NJ PR suffrage in terms of Chinese hordes.  Once they get elected, tiny little carbon-copy slanty-eyed Maos all vote in a bloc in small towns and get elected.  Just like, they claim, some Chinese did in Richmond, BC, Canada, and the candidate allegedly couldn’t even speak English!  Then Chinese will take over public utilities and blackmail old, hardworking Japanese into paying user fees, and then we’ll have an invasion of Chinese voters, ballots in hand.  Before you know it, we’ll be surrounded, thanks to immigrants’ higher birthrates, and we’ll see the same fear of foreigners here as we see in Europe, where the Dutch are being crowded out of their own country.  Etc etc.  In other words, it’s turning the positive arguments for immigration on their head, and making the issue into a zero-sum power game with Japan being lost in the process.

    And finally for today, an actual published mook, found on newsstands in Tokyo and no doubt much elsewhere on March 7, 2010.

    The title is “Emergency Publication” (aren’t they all?), “NJ PR suffrage will be the end of Japan”.  Same thing in the subtitles:  “China can now legally invade us!”  “The Policy for 10 Million Immigrants will make Japan into a foreign country.”  With flakey Zainichi Taiwanese commentator Kin Birei (who is all over the ideological map whenever she appears on Koko Made Itte Iinkai) saying “Naturalize if you want to vote”, etc.

    What follows are the Table of Contents and a sample page, courtesy of MS.  He comments that “The contents aren’t as bad as the cover.”  Then like Miwa Locks “Foreigner-Proof Security” and “Gaijin Hanzai Mook“, once again we have businesses riding the anti-foreign scare wave to make a quick buck.

    This is why we need laws against hate speech in Japan — to prevent the knock-on effects of fear by anonymous bullies being further fanned by the profit motive and marketing sharks.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Immigration & Assimilation, 日本語 | 20 Comments »

    Kyodo et.al falls for NPA spins once again, headlines NJ “white collar crime” rise despite NJ crime fall overall

    Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  It’s that time of year again.  Time for the National Police Agency (NPA) Spring Offensive and Media Blitz against foreign crime.  Article, then comment, then some original Japanese articles, to observe yet again how NJ are being criminalized by Japanese law enforcement and our domestic media:

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    No. of white-collar crimes by foreigners up by 31.2% in 2009

    Thursday 25th February, 2010 Kyodo News, Courtesy of KG
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/no-of-white-collar-crimes-by-foreigners-up-by-312

    TOKYO — The National Police Agency detected 964 white-collar crimes by visiting foreigners in Japan last year, up 31.2% from the previous year, it said Thursday. The number of visiting foreigners charged with such crimes came to 546, up 7.9%, according to the NPA. It said notable among the crimes was teams using faked credit cards.

    The overall number of crimes committed by all foreigners in the reporting year fell 11.1% to 27,790, with 13,282 people, down 4.3%, charged, the NPA said.

    ENDS

    /////////////////////////////////////////////

    COMMENT:   Yep. Same old same old. Parrot the NPA: Highlight the NJ crime rises, and play down the fact that NJ crime overall has gone down. And of course no depiction of J “white collar” (whatever that means) crime numbers, nor their ups or downs to give a sense of scale.

    NB: I can’t find the Japanese original for the Kyodo English article, only something in Kyodo’s Chinese-language news service (which avails us with the original terminology for “white-collar crime”, as “gaikokujin chinou hanzai” (lit. foreign intellectual crime); again, whatever that means). The structure is the same:

    ◆09年在日外国人智能犯罪案件骤增
    02.25.10 17:36
    http://china.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fsStory/index.php?sel_lang=schinese&storyid=78662
    【共同社2月25日电】据日本警察厅统计,除永久居住者外,去年赴日外国人犯罪案件中诈骗等“智能犯罪”急剧增加。案件数量较上年增加了31.2%,共964起;涉案人数为546人,增加了7.9%。

    其中使用伪造信用卡的多人诈骗团伙发案率明显居高。

    警察厅表示,不同国籍的团伙成员在世界各地重复犯罪的“犯罪国际化”对日本的治安也构成了巨大威胁,将重新构筑针对外国人有组织犯罪的调查机制。

    从外国人犯罪的整体情况来看,触犯《刑法》及特别法的案件共27,790起,减少了11.1%;涉案人数为13,282人,减少4.3%。(完)
    ENDS
    ======================

    The Sankei doesn’t defy its typical anti-NJ bent as it also parrots the NPA:

    外国人の知能犯罪が増加 前年比31・2%増の964件 564人摘発詐欺グループ目立つ
    産經新聞 2010.2.25 10:53
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/100225/crm1002251055012-n1.htm
    昨年警察が摘発した永住者らを除く来日外国人による犯罪のうち、詐欺などの「知能犯」が急増し、件数で対前年比31・2%増の964件、人数で7・9%増の546人となったことが25日、警察庁集計で分かった。
    偽造クレジットカードを使った多人数の詐欺グループ摘発が目立つ。
    警察庁は、多国籍のメンバーが世界各地で犯行を繰り返す「犯罪のグローバル化」が日本の治安にも大きな脅威になっているとして、外国人組織犯罪への捜査態勢の再構築を打ち出している。
    外国人犯罪全体では、刑法犯と特別法犯を合わせ件数が11・1%減の2万7790件、人数が4・3%減の1万3282人だった。
    ENDS
    =======================

    Jiji Press takes a different angle, headlining the drop in NJ crime and assigning possible societal causes, but still resorts to pointing out a rise where possible (in types of crime, such as theft and graft):

    外国人犯罪、5年連続減少=「生活苦」で窃盗、強盗増加−警察庁
    http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=soc_30&k=2010022500269
    2009年に全国の警察が摘発した来日外国人は、前年比603人減の1万3282人だったことが25日、警察庁のまとめで分かった。04年に過去最多の2万1842人となった後は5年連続で減少しているが、罪種別で見ると窃盗や強盗、詐欺などが増加。同庁は「生活苦による犯罪が目立つ」としている。
    国籍別の割合は、中国が36%を占めて過去10年間続けて最多。フィリピンやベトナムが10年前と比べ激増した。(2010/02/25-10:23)
    ENDS

    =======================

    And in a related note, the NPA is going “global” in its unified crime-fighting efforts:

    警察庁:国際犯罪、対応を一元化 部門横断的に「対策室」
    毎日新聞 – ‎Feb 22, 2010‎
    http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20100223dde041010004000c.html
    国際的な犯罪グループによる事件の続発を受け、警察庁は23日、犯罪のグローバル化戦略プランをまとめた。警察庁の各部局や各都道府県警察本部間の垣根を低くして情報の一元化と共有を図るため「グローバル対策室」を設置。韓国や中国の捜査当局との連携強化も視野に置きグローバル化する犯罪の解決や解明に乗り出す。【千代崎聖史】

    戦略プランの主な柱は(1)ICPO(国際刑事警察機構)の積極活用や、各捜査部門間の壁を取り払い組織横断的な情報収集を強化して、警察庁の情報管理システムに集約(2)海外勤務経験者を活用するなどして通訳・翻訳体制を充実(3)東アジアでの国際協力枠組みを構築し、共同オペレーションの推進。グローバル対策室は警察庁のほか各警察本部にも設置され、まず警察庁で約20人体制で発足する。

    従来の外国人犯罪は、短期間のうちに実行し出国する「ヒット・アンド・アウエー型」が主流だった。しかし、この数年は拠点など犯罪インフラの準備を入念に行うケースも増え、「ピンクパンサー」と呼ばれる国際的強盗団による宝石店強盗▽ナイジェリア人らによる身代金目的邦人誘拐▽多国籍グループによる広域自動車盗事件--など複数の国にまたがる事件が頻発。日本人が犯行拠点の確保などを支援し、組織の実態解明が困難なケースも多いため、警察庁はこうした犯罪への対策を最重要課題と位置づける。

    安藤隆春警察庁長官は同日の担当課長会議で、「全国警察一体で取り組まなければならない治安上の喫緊の課題だ」と訓示した。

    ◇初動早め情報共有
    日本と海外の捜査当局が連携して事件を解決したケースに共通するのは、初動の素早さと情報の共有だ。

    「助けて。マレーシアにいるの」。昨年12月13日、千葉県に住むフィリピン人女性(38)の携帯電話に、山梨県で食品工場の工員をしているはずの姉(44)から電話が入った。入管関係者を名乗る男が電話口に出てきて「薬物の容疑で連行した。釈放してほしければ1万ドルを口座に振り込め」と要求した。14日、女性は東京のフィリピン大使館に駆け込んで通報した。

    警視庁は通訳を派遣し身代金目的誘拐とみて捜査を開始。「金を早く用意しないと殺す」。脅迫の電話や電子メールは計16回。警察庁はICPOを、フィリピン大使館はマレーシアの同大使館をそれぞれ通じてマレーシア国家警察に情報提供を続けた。

    これを受けて、日本のフィリピン大使館とマレーシア・セランゴール州警察に対策本部が発足。州警察が携帯電話の発信電波からアジトの団地を割り出して包囲した。17日に犯人グループが被害女性を解放、ナイジェリア人5人とマレーシア人3人の21~35歳の計8人が逮捕された。女性は衰弱していたが無事だった。

    捜査関係者によると、犯人グループの男らは英語のチャット上に、欧州のビジネスマンを名乗り「結婚相手を探しています。40歳以上希望」と書き込み、返信した女性にはハンサムな白人男性の顔写真を添付して送信。誘い出したクアラルンプール国際空港で拉致した。アジトでは別のカザフスタン人の女性(43)を拉致していたことも判明した。警察幹部は「警察が国境を超えてリアルタイムで情報を共有し、解決できた意義は大きい」と話す。【千代崎聖史】
    ENDS

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 11 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 16, 2010

    Posted on Saturday, January 16th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 16, 2010

    Table of Contents:
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////
    DISCUSSIONS
    1) Query: What to do about J children being rude towards NJ adults? (also Debito.org Poll on the subject)
    2) Discussion: KFC Australia’s “racist” CM vs McD Japan’s “Mr James”
    3) NZ publisher prints “Tales of Gaijin”; I have to withdraw submission due to rubric I cannot accept

    UPDATES
    4) Fukushima Prefectural Tourist Information website advertises that now 318 of its hotels refuse NJ clients
    5) GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine becomes a “Taboo” topic in a 2007 magazine, victimizing J publisher
    6) A Debito.org Reader updates on Toyoko Inn’s discriminatory treatment of NJ clients
    7) Asahi Shinbun Jan 8 “Japan edges closer to signing Hague Convention” on Child Abductions issue, still mentions NJ “DV concerns”
    8 ) Mainichi: New real estate guarantor service set up for NJ residents

    WEIRD STUFF
    9) Getchan on Japan Post’s recent anti-terrorism half-measures regarding parcels
    10) DNA checks of “hakujin” at my university (?!?)

    … and finally …
    11) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Jan 5 with my top ten NJ human rights issues for 2009

    read aloud in
    DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JANUARY 10, 2010

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org)
    Daily blog updates and RSS at www.debito.org, Podcasts at iTunes
    Freely Forwardable

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    DISCUSSIONS

    1) Query: What to do about J children being rude towards NJ adults? (also Debito.org Poll on the subject)

    Got a question from Debito.org Reader Kimberly who wrote this to The Community yahoogroups list yesterday. About kids in Japan who are rude (if not unwittingly racist) towards NJ adults, and they are not cautioned or taught not to be so by surrounding J adults? What do other Readers think or do?

    Kimberly: Hello everyone, I’ve been meaning to ask for some advice on this for awhile — how do you deal with it when you get asked something inappropriate or hear a discriminatory comment from a child too young to have any real malicious intent? As my own kids get older I’m finding more and more situations where a child just has to give a smart-alecky HARO! or ask if we’re going to commute to yochien by airplane — and I’m torn between not wanting to hurt the kid’s feelings when I KNOW a four year old probably isn’t trying to be mean, and wanting to teach them something because I may be the only one who ever tries. If they just imitate what their parents or TV tells them to do, the next generation won’t be any more open-minded than this one.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5738

    (Blog poll on the subject in the right-hand column of any Debito.org blog page)

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) Discussion: KFC Australia’s “racist” CM vs McD Japan’s “Mr James”

    Funny thing, this. We get KFC Australia doing a hasty retreat from its controversial commercial days after it goes viral on YouTube, and pulling it pretty quickly.

    Now contrast with the ad campaign by another American-origin fast-food multinational, McDonalds. For those who don’t know, between August and November of last year McDonalds Japan had that White gaijin stereotype “Mr James” speaking katakana and portraying NJ as touristy outsiders who never fit in. More on what I found wrong with that ad campaign here.

    Yet the “Mr James” ad campaign never got pulled. In fact, the reaction of some Asians in the US was, “Karma’s a bitch”, as in White people in Japan deserve this sort of treatment because of all the bad treatment they’ve foisted on Asians overseas in the past. Still others argue that we can’t expect Japan to understand the history of other countries, or how they feel about certain sentiments found overseas, and one shouldn’t foist their cultural values onto other cultures (this argument usually pops up when one sees minstrel blackface shows etc in Japan). This argument was also made in comments to this blog as well.

    But KFC pulls the ad, in contrast to “Mr James”, where people rushed to defend it in the name of cultural relativism. Why the difference?

    I’m not saying I have the answer to this question. So I bring it up for discussion here on Debito.org. What do readers think?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5689

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    3) NZ publisher prints “Tales of Gaijin”; I have to withdraw submission due to rubric I cannot accept

    I was invited a little over a year ago to submit two stories to a NZ publisher, a new place called Fine Line Press, run by a jolly decent fellow I know (former head of the Tokyo Chapter of JALT) named Graham Bathgate. One story was on the Otaru Onsens Case, the other on the Top Five Things I Like About Japan. I knew the person, was happy to oblige, and we exchanged some story drafts until satisfaction about the submissions were reached on both sides.

    However, in August I heard that the book would be published under the rubric of “Foreign Tales from Japan” (actually, they were originally punning on the “Tales of Genji” to make “Tales of Gaijin”. Ick). Alas, I am not a foreigner in Japan, and I said I did not want my stories to be included either under this rubric or within this concept. I have, naturally, very strong feelings about being treated as a foreigner in Japan, and I do not like publishers (and former long-termers in Japan, such as Graham) exporting the binary “Japanese vs. Gaijin” mindset to media overseas. We have enough trouble dealing with it over here without it being propagated in more liberal societies (such as NZ). Graham, IMHO, should know better, and should publish better.

    So I protested and asked the rubric to be changed or my writing withdrawn. After several months of silence, I got the final word: The rubric would stand. Okay. Sad to see.

    But I’m not one to let things like this go. I feel the publisher wound up pigeonholing me through imported racist paradigms. Should be known about. Here’s the main correspondence we had, for the record.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5725

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    UPDATES

    4) Fukushima Prefectural Tourist Information website advertises that now 318 of its hotels refuse NJ clients

    While doing research over the new year, I got quite a shock when I was doing some followup on a case of exclusionary practices. I reported on Debito.org in September 2007 that Fukushima Prefecture’s Tourist Information website was advertising 35 hotels that refused NJ clients. This is one of the few business sectors that actually has explicit laws preventing refusals of customers based upon nationality alone (thanks to the Hotel Management Law), so when a government agency is even promoting “Japanese Only” hotels, you know something is rum indeed.

    What’s even more rum is that even after I advised the Tourist Information Agency that what they were doing is unlawful, and they promised in writing to stop doing it, now two years later the same website is now promoting 318 (!!) hotels that refuse NJ clients. You can’t help but get the feeling that you have been lied to, and by government bureaucrats.

    A brief write up, with links to sources, follows. At the very bottom are screen captures of the FTIA website evidencing the exclusionary practices.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5619

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine becomes a “Taboo” topic in a 2007 magazine, victimizing J publisher

    A magazine on “Taboos”, sent to me more than two years ago, tells the story of the reactionary gaijin who took the “Gaijin Hanzai Ura File” mook to task for the lies and hate speech it was spreading on convenience store newsstands nationwide (substantiation of that all here). And portrays that pitifully misunderstod publisher, Eichi Shuppan Inc., which went bankrupt within two months of releasing that mook, as victim.

    It has quotes from me (even of me laughing) that it never garnered through any interviews (they apparently talked to Eichi, but I received no communication from this publication), and shows me as some sort of fearsome activist (thanks, I guess). It of course offers no counterarguments to Eichi’s spurious published assertions, for example about the rise of NJ crime (I would have given those counterarguments if they’d only asked), accepting their assertions at face value. And of course we have no real debate on whether or not the book was actually telling the truth or not (obviously, as I argued in many venues, it wasn’t). For all the research they did pulling my written quotes out of context, they didn’t cite my questions of the veracity of the portrayals that assiduously at all.

    In other words, it’s a debate that once again favors and victimizes Team Japan. Those poor victimized convenience stores responding to public pressure (yeah, like that worked for “Mr James”; McDonald’s basically ignored us). It couldn’t just be that the stores carrying the mook were convinced by our arguments about its exaggerated and errant claims and hateful tone now, could it? Naw, Japanese lost to the foreigners, therefore the foreigners didn’t fight fair. And now because of that, we have yet another “taboo” that hurts We Japaneses’ Freedom of Speech. Hardly a “taboo” here. You overdid it, and lost the debate. That’s all.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=601

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    6) A Debito.org Reader updates on Toyoko Inn’s discriminatory treatment of NJ clients

    I’ve reported on nationwide bargain business hotel chain Toyoko Inn before, regarding their lousy treatment of me at check-in back in 2007 (when they decided to gaijinize me, and quite nastily too; my letter of complaint to HQ went unanswered), and for refusing reservations for other NJ if they don’t produce Gaijin Cards (something they are not entitled to do under laws governing Immigration or hotels). Not to mention their lousy treatment of handicapped guests (receiving GOJ subsidies earmarked for barrier-free facilities and spending it on other things). It’s a place I’ll never stay at again.

    Now for an update. Over the past couple of days, a Debito.org Reader who calls himself The Shark has been sending us good reports on Toyoko Inn as comments that deserve a blog entry of their own. We aim to please. Other people with experiences (Doug also commented, and I’ll repost that too) at Toyoko, feel free.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5716

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    7) Asahi Shinbun Jan 8 “Japan edges closer to signing Hague Convention” on Child Abductions issue, still mentions NJ “DV concerns”

    New article in the Asahi re the GOJ and the Child Abductions Issue re signing the Hague Convention. As submitter PT comments:

    “Note the Red Herring of Domestic Violence thrown out by Justice Minister Chiba in the last sentence. Interesting how the Japanese Government refuses to involve their justice ministry in talks with the US, yet they are quick to put forward a quote from the Justice Minister when pushing back on reasons against signing the Hague.” Article follows.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5696

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    8 ) Mainichi: New real estate guarantor service set up for NJ residents

    Mainichi: A Tokyo non-profit organization has set up a new real estate guarantor service for foreign residents negotiating Japan’s notoriously discriminative housing system.

    The service, the first of its kind, is set up by the Information Center for Foreigners in Japan and will start offering guarantor services in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures in South Korean and Chinese later this month. The services will later be expanded to cover people from English-speaking countries.

    The service was set up after a 2006 questionnaire showed that foreign residents in Tokyo were visiting an average of 15 real estate agents [!!!} before finding a landlord willing to lease a home to them. Common excuses given were language problems, different lifestyle habits and fears over non-payment of rent…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5703

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    WEIRD STUFF

    9) Getchan on Japan Post’s recent anti-terrorism half-measures regarding parcels

    Getchan reports on his latest tribulations at the Japan Post Office, where he talks about recent measures they’ve taken to foil terrorism that are not all that well-thought-through. Not an issue that’s necessarily “NJ-related”, but for those who use the posts, here you go.

    Excerpt: Next day, I found a form letter in my P.O.Box, informing me that both items had been sent surface and would thus be delayed by a day or two.

    I went to see the postmaster to tell him, that this was totally useless, as — except for imminent, clear and present danger — Japan Post employees are not authorized to open and check the mail for contents.

    Postmaster: “These are the new rules, airlines won’t accept parcels and flat rate envelopes for air transport, if the contents are not noted on the outside”

    Me: “But they get X-rayed anyway”

    Postmaster: “NO, they DON’T!” (now, was he supposed to tell me that???)

    My conclusion — potential and active terrorists in Japan can be trusted in this country. If they wanted to mail a bomb and blow up a plane that way, they would have to mark “bomb” on the parcel, and that would thwart their efforts, would it not? Japanese authorities have everything under control and would be able to sort out any flat rate envelope marked “Bomb”, while the CIA lets known suspects slip thru…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5638

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    10) DNA checks of “hakujin” at my university (?!?)

    It’s currently exam time (I did more than 110 individual 20-minute oral interviews over the two weeks). And right in the middle of them we have this singular event:

    One of my co-workers is this medical researcher who fancies himself internationalized, cos he says “hello” to me as we pass in the corridors (I answer back konnichiwa, of course). Well, yesterday, right in between two interviews, he pops in my office with a student saying he has a favor to ask (and sidles up to me as if it’s a given that I will oblige — his students had several vials in his hand all ready for my obliging).

    Sez he (in Japanese): “We need a strand of your hair please…”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=5742

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally …

    11) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Jan 5 with my top ten NJ human rights issues for 2009

    read aloud in
    DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JANUARY 10, 2010
    http://www.debito.org/?p=5561

    Human rights in Japan: a top 10 for ’09

    JUST BE CAUSE Column 24/ZEIT GIST Column 53 for the Japan Times Community Page

    The Japan Times January 5, 2010
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20100105ad.html
    Also online at http://www.debito.org/?p=5660

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    That’s all for this month! Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 16, 2010 ENDS

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    Tangent: Debito.org has citations in 37 books, according to Amazon

    Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2009

     Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar

    Hi Blog.  I’m going to be on the road from tomorrow showing documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES across Japan, so indulge me this evening as I talk about something that impressed me today about the power of the Internet.

    It started during a search on Amazon.com this evening, when I found an amazing avenue for researching insides of books for excerpts.  Check it out (click “Excerpt”).

    I realized I could go through and see just how often Debito.org is being cited as a resource in respectable print publications.  I soon found myself busy:  37 books refer in some way to me by name or things archived here.  I cite them all below from most recent publication on down.

    Amazing.  Debito.org as a domain has been going strong since 1997, and it’s taken some time to establish a degree of credibility.  But judging by the concentration of citations in recent years, the cred seems to be compounding.

    So tonight I’m realizing the reach of the Internet into print media, and the power of an online archive.  Mukashi mukashi, you young whippersnappers, it was truly time-consuming to find stuff in places like microfiche and Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature.   Now we can find what we need in seconds online.  Likewise, damn those who destroy history by deleting online archives — as you can see in book citations below regarding “Issho Kikaku”).

    The following is tonight’s update to part of Debito.org’s PUBLICATIONS PAGE.  Have a look at the other stuff up there if you’re interested.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ==========================

    CITATIONS OF DEBITO.ORG IN ACADEMIC AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS

    1. Haffner, John; Klett, Tomas Casas i; Lehmann, Jean-Pierre.  “JAPAN’S OPEN FUTURE:  An Agenda for Global Citizenship“. Anthem Press March 2009, pg 194, regarding Gaijin Hanzai Magazine. Also cited in bibliography is Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article of March 2008 on “Gaijin Hanzai Magazine and Hate Speech in Japan.”  ISBN 978-1-84331-311-3.
    2. Johnson, David T., and Zimring, Franklin E, “Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)” February 2009.  Bibiography page 456, citing Arudou Debito, “The Myopic State We’re In“, Japan Times December 18, 2007. ISBN 978-0195337402.
    3. Graf, Arndt, “Cities in Asia and Europe (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia)”, Routledge, January 2009.  Bibliography page 154, citing Otaru Onsens Case Sapporo District Court testimony.  ISBN 978-0710311832.
    4. Minear, Richard H., “THROUGH JAPANESE EYES“, junior high/high school textbook on Japanese society.  Apex Press, Fourth Edition, July 2008.  Pp 285-288 cites a rewrite of Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article 176.  ISBN: 0-938960-53-9.
    5. Winterdyk, John, and Georgios Antonopoulos, “Racist Victimization“.  Ashgate, July 2008. Citation of Debito.org as “helpful website” on page 183. ISBN 978-0754673200.
    6. Sorensen, André:  “Livable Communities in Japan?”  Japan Focus February 1, 2008.
    7. Chan, Jennifer, “Another Japan Is Possible: New Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education“.  Reference section page 289 (in chapter dealing with nonexistent “NGO” ISSHO Kikaku) and bibliographical references page 368 cite Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”.  ISBN 978-0804757829.
    8. Ertl, John, Tierney, R. Kenji, “Multiculturalism in the New Japan: Crossing the Boundaries Within (Asian Anthropologies)”. Berghahn Books, November, 2007.  Introduction page 25 cites Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” as reference. ISBN 978-1845452261.
    9. 単行本「グローバル時代の日本社会と国籍」、李洙任と田中宏 著。明石書店2007年5月10日発行、ISBN 978-4-7503-2531-6, pg 45-47.
    10. Willis, David Blake; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen, Eds., “Transcultural Japan (Asia’s Transformations)”  Routledge, January 2008.  Page 34 bibliography cites Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article “Japan’s Coming Internationalization: Can Japan Assimilate its Immigrants?” (2006).  ISBN 978-0415368902.
    11. Chapman, David, “Korean Identity and Ethnicity (Routledge Contemporary Japan Series)”.  Routledge, November 2007.  Cites activities of The Community promoting multicultural awareness on page 121. ISBN 978-0415426374.
    12. Pence, Canon, “Japanese Only: Xenophobic Exclusion in Japan’s Private Sphere“. New York International Law Review, Summer, 2007, pages 1-73.
    13. Heyden, Carmen: “Gaijin!  Welcome to Japan…  Japan auf dem Weg in eine mulikulturelle Gesellschaft.” PRAXIS GEOGRAPHIE (German), Preisliste Nr. 30 vom 1. April 2007.  Bildungshaus Schulbuchverlage Westermann Schroedel Diesterweg Schoeningh Winklers GmbH, publishers.
    14. Burgess, Chris:  “Multicultural Japan? Discourse and the ‘Myth’ of Homogeneity“. Japan Focus March 2007.
    15. West, Mark D, “Sex, and Spectacle:  The Rules of Scandal in Japan and the United States“.  University of Chicago Press, January 2007.  Page 356 footnote 116, citing Arudou Debito book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”. ISBN 978-0226894089
    16. 「英語の新しい役割:アジアを結ぶリングア・フランカ」李洙任(Lee, Soo im)著。龍谷大学経済学論集(民際学特集)2007年記載予定。
    17. 第6回移住労働者と連帯する全国のフォーラム・北海道 報告集 第6回北海道実行委員会2007年1月10日発行。42〜48ページ、「分科会報告:外国人の人権基本法、人種差別禁止法を制定しよう」はここでご覧下さい
    18. Caryl, Christian, and Kashiwagi, Akiko:  “This Is the New Japan: Immigrants are Transforming a Once Insular Society“. Japan Focus October 2006.
    19. Zielenziger, Michael, “Shutting Out the Sun:  How Japan Created its Own Lost Generation“. Nan A Talese, September 2006.  Page 316 footnote 16,on Otaru Onsens Case and Debito.org. ISBN 978-0385513036
    20. Talmadge, Eric, “Getting Wet: Adventures in the Japanese Bath“.  Kodansha International, August 2006.  Interview pp 149 – 155, regarding Otaru Onsens Case and racial discrimination in Japan. ISBN 978-4770030207.
    21. Milhaupt, Curtis J.; Ramseyer, J. Mark; and West, Mark D.: “The Japanese Legal System:  Cases, Codes, and Commentary”. Foundation Press, June 2006, ISBN 1-599-41017-6.  Citing Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2006).
    22. Gottlieb, Nanett, “Linguistic Stereotyping and Minority Groups in Japan (Contemporary Japan)”.  Routledge, February 2006.  Page 96 talks about Kume Hiroshi Case and his use of the word “gaijin” during a 1996 live broadcast. Back references page 142 cite Debito.org on the Kume Case, and what remains of the deleted ISSHO archives on Debito.org on page 146.  ISBN 978-0415338035.
    23. Sloss, Colin; Kawahara, Toshiaki; Grassi, Richard: “Shift the Focus“, Lesson 4:  “Discrimination, or Being Japanese…?” pp 18-21, on the Otaru Onsens Case. Sanshusha Pubilshing Co., Ltd. February, 2006. ISBN: 4-384-33363-3.
    24. Lee, Soo im; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen; and Befu, Harumi, eds., “JAPAN’S DIVERSITY DILEMMAS“.  iUniverse Inc. 2006.  ISBN 0-595-36257-5.  Two citations, in Chapter 4 (Murphy-Shigematsu, “Diverse Forms of Minority National Identities in Japan’s Multicultural Society”, pp. 75-99) and Chapter 5 (Lee, “The Cultural Exclusiveness of Ethnocentrism:  Japan’s Treatment of Foreign Residents”, pp. 100-125).
    25. Hayes, Declan, “The Japanese Disease: Sex and Sleaze in Modern Japan“. iUniverse Inc., September 2005.  Page 54, citing the Otaru Onsens Case, and page 311 footnote 14, with thanks for assistance.  ISBN 978-0595370153.
    26. Spiri, John, “Japanese at Work–a look a the working lives of Japanese people”, interview pp. 35-37.  Japan Association for Language Teaching pubs, Special Interest Group for Materials Writers, 2005.  ISBN 4-931424-20-1. More information at http://www.globalstories.net.
    27. Philips, Cathy, Ed. “Time Out Guide to Tokyo“, 4th Edition, Time Out Publishing June 2005.  Page 301, regarding the usefulness of Debito.org. ISBN 978-1904978374.
    28. Anholt, Simon, “Brand New Justice, Second Edition: How Branding Places and Products Can Help the Developing World“.  Butterworth-Heinemann, January 2005.  Citing as footnote 18 on page 167 my very off-topic research paper from 1996,  “New Zealand’s Economic Reforms–Were They Worth It?”,  ISBN 978-0750666008.
    29. Close, Paul, and Askew, David, “Asia Pacific And Human Rights: A Global Political Economy Perspective (The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms)”. Ashgate Publishing, December 2004.  Debito.org cited as reference in bibliography.  ISBN 978-0754636298.
    30. Asakawa, Gil, “Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa . . . and Their Friends“.  Stone Bridge Press, June 2004. Citing Debito.org as a site of interest in resources, page 134. ISBN 978-1880656853.
    31. 聖学院大学 政治経済学部 政治経済学科 2004年度 推進入学審査 小論文問題として記載:有道 出人著の朝日新聞「私の視点」欄から「『外国人お断り』人種差別撤廃へ法整備を」(SARSによるホテルの恐怖感と一律外国人客お断りの方針)。2003年6月2日朝刊 pg14(聖学院大学の問題用紙はこちらです。引用された記 事へのリンクはこちらです)(学研(株)出版)
    32. Let’s Go Inc., “Let’s Go Japan 1st Ed“.  Let’s Go Publications, December 2003.  Page 690 on favorite restaurant Ebi-Ten, pp 696-697 sidebars, interview with Olaf Karthaus and Arudou Debito on Otaru Onsens Case.  ISBN 978-0312320072.
    33. Belson, Ken, and Bremner, Brian, “Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon”  Wiley, November 2003.  Citation page 136 of Kyodo News March 19, 2003 article translation by Arudou Debito, regarding “Tama-Chan” protests.  ISBN 978-0470820940.
    34. Arnould, Eric J; Price, Linda; Zinkhan, George M, “Consumers” McGraw-Hill/Irwin, March 2003.  Page 76 cites Otaru Onsens Case as “Cultural Category Confusion”. ISBN 978-0072537147.
    35. Mclelland, Mark, “Japanese Cybercultures (Asia’s Transformations)”, Routledge, February 2003. Page 171, citing Debito.org as an example of online activism. ISBN 978-0415279185.
    36. Fujimoto, Etsuko, “Japanese-ness, Whiteness, and the ‘Other’ in Japan’s Internationalization”.   Essay from book Transforming Communication About Culture (2002), edited by Mary Jane Collier.  Sage Publications, Inc; 1st edition (December 15, 2001), ISBN-13: 978-0761924883.
    37. Picardi, Richard P, “Skills of Workplace Communication: A Handbook for T&D Specialists and Their Organizations“.  Quorum Books, September 2001. Pp 29-30 cites Otaru Onsens Case and Ana Bortz Case, as part of New York Times November 15, 1999 article, as cases of battles against ethnocentrism in Japan.  ISBN 978-1567203622.
    38. ENDS

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    Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Business Practices, debito.org blog and website biz, History, Issho.org/Tony Laszlo, Media, Tangents | 6 Comments »

    Books recently received by Debito.org: “Japan’s Open Future”, et al.

    Posted on Sunday, March 8th, 2009

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
    Hi Blog.  Some very friendly people out there send me books from time to time for review, or just because they think it might be of interest to Debito.org.  I’m grateful for that, and although time to read whole books is a luxury (I just got a pile of them for my own PhD thesis in two languages, anticipate a lot of bedtime reading), I thought it would be nice to at least acknowledge receipt here and offer a thumb-through review.

    Last week I got a book from John Haffner, one author of ambitious book “JAPAN’S OPEN FUTURE:  An Agenda for Global Citizenship” (Anthem Press 2009).  The goal of the book is, in John’s words:

    As our aim is ultimately to contribute to the policy debate in Japan, I’d also be grateful if you’d consider mentioning or linking to our book and/or my Huffington piece via your website or newsletter. I took the liberty of linking to debito.org on our (still embryonic) “Change Agents” page on our book website: http://www.japansopenfuture.com/?q=node/22

    The Huffington Post article being referred to is here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-haffner/japan-in-a-post-american_b_171933.html

    Excerpt:

    ===================================

    In our book Japan’s Open Future: an Agenda for Global Citizenship, my co-authors and I contend that if Japan wishes to escape a future of decline and irrelevance, and if it wants to take meaningful steps towards a more secure, contented and prosperous future, it needs to think big. Japan really has only one sustainable option: to become a more open, dynamic, conscientious, engaged, globally integrated country. In our book we show why this is so, and we offer a set of interconnected policy prescriptions for how Japan could undertake this radical transformation. There are many things Japan could do, but especially by moving beyond a rigid and inflexible conception of its national identity, by opening up to trade and immigration, by learning to communicate more effectively, including with the English language as the global lingua franca, and by undertaking a much more spirited commitment to global development and security, Japan has the potential to make a profound contribution to domestic, regional, and global challenges.

    To pursue this path, however, Japan must think beyond isolationism and the US security alliance. Japan must begin to see itself as a global citizen and as an Asian country, and it must walk the walk on both counts.

    At a time when multilateralism is imperiled, the United States would also benefit from such a radical shift in Japan’s posture: it would find an expanded, wealthy market for its exports, a more secure Asian region, and a talented civil society capable of constructively contributing to global issues. President Obama understands that multilateralism is the only path forward for the world, and that its importance is even greater in dark economic times. As a grand strategy for Asia, therefore, President Obama should encourage Japan to pursue policies leading to a peaceful and integrated Asian community, one rooted in reasonably harmonious and dynamic relations between those (highly complementary) leading economies, Japan and China.

    Now more than ever, the United States needs Asia to prosper, and Japan must play its part.

    =========================

    Thumbing through the book, I feel as though it adds a necessary perspective (if not a reconfirmation of Japan’s importance) to the debate, especially in these times when “Asia Leadership” in overseas policymaking circles increasingly means China.  If not cautioned, the media eye may begin truly overlooking Japan as a participant in the world system (particularly, as far as I’m of course concerned, in terms of human rights).  I don’t want Japan to be let off the hook as some kind of “quaint hamlet backwater of erstwhile importance, so who cares how it behaves towards outsiders?” sort of thing.  How you treat foreigners inside your country is of direct correlation to how you will treat them outside.  I think, on cursory examination, the book provides a reminder that Japan’s economic and political power should not be underestimated just because there are other rising stars in the neighborhood.

    (And yes, the book cites Debito.org, regarding the GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine issue two years ago, on page 194.  Thanks.)

    ////////////////////////////////////////////

    Now for two other books I received some months ago.  One is Minoru Morita, “CURING JAPAN’S AMERICA ADDICTION:  How Bush & Koizumi destroyed Japan’s middle class and what we need to do about it” (Chin Music Press 2008).  Rather than give you a thumbed-review, Eric Johnston offers these thoughts in the Japan Times (excerpt):

    In “Curing Japan’s America Addiction,” Morita says publicly what a lot of Japanese think and say privately, in sharp contrast to whatever pleasantries they offer at cocktail parties with foreign diplomats and policy wonks, or in speeches they give abroad. For that reason, “Curing Japan’s America Addiction” deserves to be read by anybody tired of the Orwellian doublespeak coming out of Washington and Tokyo and interested in an alternative, very contrarian view on contemporary Japan, a view far more prominent among Japanese than certain policy wonks and academic specialists on Japan-U.S. relations want to admit.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20080928a1.html

    The other is Sumie Kawakami, “GOODBYE MADAME BUTTERFLY:  Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman” (Chin Music Press 2007; I seem to be on their mailing list, thanks), a handsome little tome,which, according to the blurb on the back, “offers a modern twist on the tradition in Japanese literature to revel in tales of sexual exploits.  Kawakami’s nonfiction update on this theme offers strands of hope for women struggling to liberate themselves from joyless, sexless relationships.”

    It is that, a page-turner indeed.  In the very introduction (which is as far as I got, sorry; I’m a slow reader, and reading this cover to cover wasn’t a priority), Kawakami says:

    “[W]hile the sex industry maintains a high profile in Japan, the nation doesn’t seem to be having much actual sex.  A case in point is the results of the Global Sex Survey by Durex (http://www.durex.com/cm/gss2005results.asp), the world’s largest condom maker.  In its 2005 survey, the company interviewed 317,000 people from forty-one countries and found that Japan ranked forty-first in terms of sexual activity.  The survey found that people had sex an average of 103 times a year, with men (104) having more sex than women (101).  The Japanese, at the very bottom, reported having sex an average of forty-five times a year.  

    Japan also ranked second to last, just ahead of China, in terms of sexual contentment…” (pp. vi. – vii).

    See what I mean?  The book explores this, with case studies of Japanese women’s sexuality.

    Thanks for the books, everyone.  If others want to send their tomes to Debito.org, I’d be honored, but I can’t promise I’ll get to them (I spend eight hours a day reading and mostly writing a day already).  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ================================

    UPDATE MARCH 13, 2009

    I got round to reading one of the books, GOODBYE MADAME BUTTERFLY. I generally write reviews on the back pages if and when I get through a book, something brief that fills the page (or two). Here’s what I scribbled:

    Started March 10, 2009, Finished March 13, 2009, Received Gratis from publisher 2007.

    REVIEW: A gossipy little book. The best, most scientific part of the book is the introduction, which introduces the point of this book as an exploration of why sex doesn’t seem to happen much in Japan, according to a Durex survey. So one plunges into some very obviously true stores that are well-charted gossip, but not case studies of any scientific caliber. If Iate-night unwinding or beach-blanket reading is what you’re after, this book is for you. If you’re after the promise of why Japanese apparently don’t have much sex, you’ll end up disappointed. The author isn’t brave enough to try and draw any conclusions from the scattering of stories. I wouldn’t have, either. But I felt lured by the promise the foreword. And left the book in the end disappointed.

    The best thing about the book is, sadly, the handsome, well-designed print and cover, making the fluff a joy to look at. Just not think about.

    ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Cultural Issue, Discussions, Good News, Japanese Politics, Tangents | 3 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2009

    Posted on Sunday, March 1st, 2009

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2009
    Table of Contents:

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    WEIRD NEWS
    1) NPA on foreign-infiltrated organized crime: NJ crime down 3rd straight year,
    but not newsworthy in J-media
    2) Iyami Dept: Compare SPA!’s “Monster Gaijin” with “Monster Daijin”
    former finance minister Nakagawa in Italy
    3) Japan Times FYI column explaining Japan’s Bubble Economy

    BAD NEWS
    4) New Japanese driver licenses now have IC Chips, no honseki
    5) Fun Facts #11: Ekonomisuto estimates 35% of Japan’s population will be over 65 by 2050
    6) New IC “Gaijin Cards”: Original Nyuukan proposal submitted to Diet is viewable here (8 pages)

    GOOD NEWS
    7) Kyodo: Proposal for registering NJ on Juuminhyou by 2012
    8 ) Fun Facts #12: Statistics on Naturalized Citizens in Japan; holding steady despite immigration
    9) NUGW labor union “March in March” Sunday March 8, 3:30 Shibuya

    … and finally…

    10) My next “JUST BE CAUSE” Japan Times Column out March 3
    Title: “TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES”

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, daily blog updates at www.debito.org
    Freely Forwardable

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    WEIRD NEWS

    1) NPA on foreign-infiltrated organized crime: NJ crime down 3rd straight year, but not newsworthy in J-media

    Two topics this blog entry for the price of one: The NPA spending our tax monies to target the bad guys (if they’re NJ) again, and how the J media is not reporting crime rates properly, again.

    Hang on to your hats. folks. It’s the NPA “Foreign Crime Report” time of year again. Yes, twice a year, we get appraised of what our boys in blue are doing to stem the hordes and save the country.

    But this time the biannual deluge is buried within an NPA “soshiki hanzai jousei” general report released this week. Although “general”-looking, the majority of the report is in fact devoted to NJ crimes (it seems organized crime is the most international thing about Japan; yakuza seem to be getting squeezed out).

    But, er, in fact NJ crime dropped this year. Significantly. For the third straight year. But you wouldn’t know that by reading the J media. Articles on this from Asahi, Sankei, or Yomiuri didn’t show in a Google News search. An article from the Mainichi notes the crime drop, but devotes (as usual, and in Japanese only) half the text to how it’s rising in bits. Again.

    So if it bleeds it leads, sure. But if it bleeds and it’s foreign, it had better be BAD news or else newspapers aren’t going to break their stride, and give society any follow-ups that might paint a rosier picture of Japan’s immigration. What negligence and public disservice by a free press.

    Some fun scans and screen captures also blogged. Do check out the site!
    http://www.debito.org/?p=2533

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) Iyami Dept: Compare SPA!’s “Monster Gaijin” with “Monster Daijin”, former finance minister Nakagawa in Italy

    Just can’t resist. Kyou no iyami: With all the talk and blame about “Monster Gaikokujin” (fish lickers, onsen defilers, cabbie bashers, golddiggers, see http://www.debito.org/?p=2315), how about the drunk antics of our former finance minister, Nakagawa Shochu, excuse me, Shouichi? Setting off an alarm and sticking his hands all over private world-heritage artifacts in The Vatican? Not Monster Gaijin. Monster Daijin.

    Excerpt from Japan Times: “Former Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa engaged in some shenanigans during a visit to the Vatican Museum immediately following his highly ridiculed Group of Seven news conference in Rome, people at the Vatican said Friday.

    At one point, Nakagawa climbed over a barrier around the statue of the Trojan priest Laocoon and His Sons, causing an alarm to go off. He also touched pieces he was not supposed to, they said.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=2433

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    3) Japan Times FYI column explaining Japan’s Bubble Economy

    On one snowiest of snowy days in Hokkaido, I blogged an excellent writeup from the Japan Times regarding the Japan I first came to know: The Bubble Economy.

    I first arrived here in 1986 as a tourist, and came to look around for a year in 1987. It was one great, big party. By the time I came back here, married, to stay and work, in 1991, the party was winding up, and it’s been over (especially up here in Hokkaido) ever since. Surprising to hear that it only lasted about five years. Eric Johnston tells us about everything you’d ever want to know in 1500 words about how it happened, how it ended, and what its aftereffects are. Excerpt:

    “Economic historians usually date the beginning of the bubble economy in September 1985, when Japan and five other nations signed the Plaza Accord in New York. That agreement called for the depreciation of the dollar against the yen and was supposed to increase U.S. exports by making them cheaper.

    But it also made it cheaper for Japanese companies to purchase foreign assets. And they went on an overseas buying spree, picking off properties like the Rockefeller Center in New York and golf courses in Hawaii and California.

    By December 1989, the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average had reached nearly 39,000. But beginning in 1990, the stock market began a downward spiral that saw it lose more than $2 trillion by December 1990, effectively ending the bubble era

    What was Japan like during those years? For many people, it was one big, expensive party. The frugality and austerity that defined the country during the postwar era gave way to extravagance and conspicuous consumption. Stories of housewives in Nara sipping $500 cups of coffee sprinkled with gold dust or businessmen spending tens of thousands of dollars in Tokyo’s flashy restaurants and nightclubs were legion. One nightclub in particular, Julianna’s Tokyo, become the symbol for the flashy, party lifestyle of the entire era.

    Japan’s inflated land prices made global headlines. The Imperial Palace was reported to be worth more than France. A 10,000 note dropped in Tokyo’s Ginza district was worth less than the tiny amount of ground it covered…”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=2417

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    BAD NEWS

    4) New Japanese driver licenses now have IC Chips, no honseki

    While looking up other things for a PhD thesis I’m writing, I noticed that a significant new change has happened from 2007 with Japanese driver licenses. They’ve been getting IC Chips as well.

    One reason I find this development perturbing: For “privacy’s sake” (gee whiz, suddenly we’re concerned?), the honseki family registry domicile is being removed from IC Licenses. That was ill-thought-through, because once I get my license renewed, short of carrying my Japanese passport with me 24/7 will have no other way of demonstrating that I am a Japanese citizen. After all, I have no Gaijin Card (of course), so if some cop decides to racially profile me on the street, what am I to do but say hey, look, um, I’m a citizen, trust me. And since criminal law is on their side, I will definitely be put under arrest (‘cos no way of my own free will am I going to the local Police Box for “voluntary questioning”, thank you very much) as the law demands in these cases. I see lotsa false positives and harassment in future Gaijin Card Checkpoints.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=2485

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) Fun Facts #11: Ekonomisuto estimates 35% of Japan’s population will be over 65 by 2050

    While researching stuff on Debito.org, I realized that one source I quote often in my powerpoint presentations has never been blogged: An Ekonomisuto Japan article, dated January 15, 2008, with an amazing estimate.

    The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimates that well over a third of the Japanese population (35.7%) will be over 65 years of age by 2050, and the majority of those oldies will be well beyond a working age. Can you imagine over a third of a population above 65 years of age? Who works and who pays taxes, when this many people are retired on pensions or should be? That’s if trends stay as they are, mind. That’s why the GOJ has changed its tune to increasing the NJ population. We’re talking a demographic juggernaut that may ultimately wipe out this country’s productivity and accumulated wealth.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=2362

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    6) New IC “Gaijin Cards”: Original Nyuukan proposal submitted to Diet is viewable here (8 pages)

    As a Debito.org poll indicated, close to a third of all people surveyed as of today don’t have enough information to make an accurate decision about whether the new IC-Chipped Gaijin Cards are a good thing. Well, let’s fix that.

    What follows is the actual proposal before Dietmembers, submitted by MOJ Immigration, for how they should look and what they should do. All eight pages are scanned below (the last page suffered from being faxed, so I just append it FYI). Have a read, and you’ll know as much as our lawmakers know. Courtesy of the Japan Times (y’know, they’re a very helpful bunch; take out a subscription).

    More information on the genesis of the IC Chip Gaijin Cards here (Japan Times Nov 22, 2005) and here (Debito.org Newsletter May 11, 2008, see items 12 and 13 at http://www.debito.org/?p=1652). More on this particular proposal before the Diet and how it played out in recent media at http://www.debito.org/?p=2381

    All links at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=2469

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    GOOD NEWS

    7) Kyodo: Proposal for registering NJ on Juuminhyou by 2012

    Coming atcha with some very good news.

    NJ residents, after decades of being treated as nonresidents in registry procedures, will by 2012, so the proposal runs, be registered the same as Japanese. Meaning get their own juuminhyou. So say two Kyodo articles below.

    Good, good, and good. Here’s a link to information on why the old (meaning current) system is so problematic:

    http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#juuminhyou

    Kyodo articles at:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=2523

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    8 ) Fun Facts #12: Statistics on Naturalized Citizens in Japan; holding steady despite immigration

    More Fun Facts: Something else interesting that cropped up while researching that thesis: The number of people who have naturalized (or applied and been rejected for Japanese citizenship for the past ten years. Screen capture of the most recent stats from the MOJ on blog.

    Over the past ten years (1998-2007), 153,103 people became Japanese citizens. That’s a sizeable amount, for if you assume reasonable influx for the previous five decades (1948-1997), we’re looking at at least half a million people here as cloaked NJ-blood citizens. That’s a lot of people no matter how you slice it. (Of course, these older stats are still not available online for confirmation.)

    As you can see, numbers have held steady, at an average of about 15,000 plus applicants per year. And about the same number were accepted. In fact the rejection rate is so low (153,103/154,844 people = 98.9% acceptance rate), you are only a little more likely to be convicted of a crime during criminal trial in Japan (99.9%) than be rejected for citizenship once you file all the paperwork. That should encourage those who are considering it.

    Also note the high numbers of Korean and Chinese applicants (around 90% or more). I was one of the few, the proud, the 725 non-K or C who got in in 2000. Less than five percent. However, the numbers of non-K or C accepted over the past ten years have tripled. I wonder if I was part of blazing some sort of trail.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=2466

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    9) NUGW labor union “March in March” Sunday March 8, 3:30 Shibuya

    Louis Carlet and Catherine Campbell at the NUGW (http://www.nugw.org) say:

    Join us at the Fifth Annual Tokyo March in March for job security and equality. Come to Miyashita Park in Shibuya, an 8-minute walk from Hachiko behind the tracks on the way to Harajuku at 3:30pm on Sunday, March 8, 2009. March departs at 5pm.

    Each year we hold the March in March to appeal to the thousands of people in Shibuya on a Sunday afternoon with a message of strength and solidarity. We demand that employers and the government cooperate to ensure job security and an equal society for all workers in a Japan that is increasingly multiethnic. Dance, music, performances from areas around the world, colors, costumes, and huge placards make March in March a protest parade you will never forget.

    More information, contact details, and downloadable posters at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=2548

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally…

    10) My next “JUST BE CAUSE” Japan Times Column out March 3
    Title: “TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES”

    As the JBC column begins its second year in the Japan Times, I come out swinging, talking about people who recycle long-dead and buried debates (in this case, racial discrimination) for their own personal gain. In response to the recent debates on the subject in the Japan Times.

    I feel it’s one of my best columns yet. It crystallized a number of ideas I’ve had floating around in my head into concise mindsets. Especially the concept of the “zombie debate”. It’ll be out next Tuesday (Wednesday in the provinces). Get a copy!

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    All for this Newsletter. Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2009 ENDS

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    Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

    NPA on foreign-infiltrated organized crime: NJ crime down 3rd straight year, but not newsworthy in J-media

    Posted on Saturday, February 28th, 2009

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

    Hi Blog.  Two topics today for the price of one:  The NPA spending our tax monies to target the bad guys (if they’re NJ) again, and how the J media is not reporting crime rates properly, again.

    Hang on to your hats. folks. It’s the NPA “Foreign Crime Report” time of year again.  Yes, twice a year, we get appraised of what our boys in blue are doing to stem the hordes and save the country.  (We get little of this NPA assiduity for domestic crime; after all, the sociology of crime means that police get blamed if domestic crime rises, but get encouraged budgetwise if foreign crime rises.)

    So this time the biannual deluge is buried within an NPA “soshiki hanzai jousei” general report released this week.  Despite the “general”-sounding title, the dirt on the NJ crooks starts from page eight, and continues throughout the total 47 pages.  

    Conspiring foreign crooks are everywhere, it seems.  With so little focus on the pure Yamato yakuza, it looks like organized crime is the most international thing about Japan.  Lots of stories and case studies of NJ evildoers (with a special focus on money laundering from page 13; maybe this is why banks are targeting NJesque accounts and transactions recently).

    For example, here an illustration of the web of intrigue that NJ get up to, from the NPA report page 31.  Note how the Japanese criminals (usually not included at all in any police-published visual specs of foreign crime, see page 22) are only involved in two stages of the game.

    npayakuzagaikokujin0209jpg

    (Love the NJ kingpin’s 1990’s cellphone.)

    But oh oh for the NPA:  For the third straight year, foreign crime is, er, um, down.  However will they justify their budgets for the NPA’s Kokusai Taisaku Iinkai?

    Don’t worry.  You’re not going to hear that good news in the Japanese media. At least, not in an unadulterated form.  Because when it comes to foreign crime, good news is no news.  Short AP article, then comments follow:

    ===============================

    Number of crimes by foreign visitors down for 3rd year
    Associated Press Feb 26 2009, courtesy MJ

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D96JFBFO3&show_article=1

    TOKYO, Feb. 27 (AP) – (Kyodo)—The number of crimes committed by foreign visitors in Japan fell in 2008 for the third consecutive year to 31,280, down 12.6 percent from the previous year, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

    The number of foreign criminals, excluding permanent residents, also dropped in 2008 for a third straight year to 13,872, down 12.8 percent, it said.

    Both figures peaked in 2005, according to the NPA.

    Of the 31,280 cases detected by police, 23,229 involved violations of the criminal code, while 8,051 involved immigration and other violations, the NPA said.

    Chinese people accounted for 35 percent of the detected crimes, or 4,856, followed by South Koreans at 1,603 and Filipinos at 1,486.

    Meanwhile, 633 foreign suspects fled abroad, the NPA said.

    ENDS

    ===============================

    Well, good.  But look what a Google News Search turns up:  No articles in the Japanese media, which in the past fell over themselves to scream alleged foreign crime rises (see examples in the Yomiuri, Sankei, and the Asahi).  Or in the case of the Mainichi, crime rate falls were headlined as falls in English but as rises in Japanese).  Evidence:  Screen capture today, current as of Midnight February 28:

    foreigncrimemedia022709

    You’d expect that if the overseas media has reported this, the domestic news certainly would have by now.  And it would no doubt would quite assiduously (if the past is any guide) if it had been a crime rate rise.  

    So if it bleeds it leads, sure.  But if it bleeds and it’s foreign, it had better be BAD news or else newspapers aren’t going to break their stride, and give society any follow-ups that might paint a rosier picture of Japan’s immigration.  What negligence and public disservice by a free press.

    I’ll include below the text of Mainichi article featured in the Google News search above.  It’s also instructive of bent reporting.  Note how the headline does mention the crime rate did drop, but of course tempers the cheers by following up with assiduous reportage on how it’s also rising — in the provinces, as group crime increases.  The body of the text also tempers any fall with a rise, zeroing on Chinese perps (same as the above 47NEWS article), making sure the last thought you’re left with after reading a paragraph is how crime is increasing.

    ================================

    外国人犯罪:3年連続で減少 組織化進み、地方に広がる

    http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20090227k0000e040017000c.html

     08年に警察が摘発した来日外国人の犯罪は前年比12.6%減の3万1280件で、3年連続減少したことが警察庁のまとめで分かった。以前より不法滞在者の割合が減る一方、共犯者がいるケースが増えて組織化が進んでおり、地方での犯罪も増えている。

     警察庁によると、刑法犯は2万3229件(前年比9.7%減)、入管法違反など特別法犯は8051件(同19.9%減)。国籍別の検挙人数では、中国が最多で全体の39.7%を占めた。

     10年前の98年との比較では、刑法犯のうち不法滞在者の割合は24.2%から8.6%に激減。単独犯の事件も37%と20ポイント減ったが、3人組は3.2倍、4人組以上が1.3倍と共犯事件が増えた。発生地域別でみると、東京都は3399件で26.5%減ったが、中部地方が24.6%増の4327件と東京を上回り、中国地方も2.4倍に増えた。【長野宏美】

    毎日新聞 2009年2月27日 10時34分

    ================================

    I wonder how they’ll translate this for an English-reading audience (if they ever do; they haven’t as of this writing).  Hopefully they won’t sweeten it for tender NJ eyes like last time.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Good News, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 1 Comment »