UNCHR's misguided "Mission to Japan"
The global politics of "racialization"
By William Wetherall
First posted 15 February 2006
Last updated 10 April 2006
This is a "counter report" to Mission to Japan, a report submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights by Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene on 24 January 2006 as an addendum to Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and All Forms of Discrimination.
Diene's addendum report is reproduced here as it was formatted in the Word document file distributed on UNCHR's website. The fonts and colors, though, are those of this website. Only the comments in boxes, and this heading and the footer, have been added.
Report full of misinformation
There are various kinds of discrimination in Japan, as there are in all countries. And Japan, like other countries, needs a law that
1. clarifies what kinds of discrimination are unacceptable
2. provides reasonable and effective ways to discourage and minimize if not eliminate, unacceptable discrimination
A workable law, however, must be based on factual and realistic understandings of Japan's population in terms of the actual experiences of those who are at risk of incurring unacceptable discrimination. Unfortunately, Diene's report comes up short on both scales of understanding.
Diene's report reads as though he was inspired mostly by the counter reports that certain advocacy organizations have been submitting to various United Nations human rights committees over the years. It mostly reflects, and sides with, the narrow and highly political views of the activists and publicists he met while in Japan.
Consequently, Diene's report endorses ideologies that would actually exacerbate the risk of unacceptable discrimination by minoritizing and even racializing people in Japan who are not true minorities much less races. In other ways, too, his report hardens the sort of racialism that needs to be softened if Japan's civil society is to become more civil for all members.
ADVANCE EDITED VERSION
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Item 6 of the provisional agenda
RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND ALL
FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,
to Mission Japan
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerance, in pursuance of his mandate, visited
Special Rapporteur concluded that there is racial discrimination and xenophobia
Concerning the policies and measures adopted by public authorities, the Special Rapporteur welcomes the adoption of a number of laws which promote certain rights of certain minorities, but notes with concern that the there is no national legislation that outlaws racial discrimination and provides a judicial remedy for the victims.
Finally, the Special Rapporteur formulates a number of recommendations, including the following:
The recognition of the existence
of racial discrimination in
· The adoption of a national law against discrimination;
· The establishment of a national commission for equality and human rights, whose mandate should bring together the most important fields of contemporary discrimination: race, colour, gender, descent, nationality, ethnic origin, disability, age, religion and sexual orientation;
· Focusing on the process of rewriting and teaching of history.
Comments on Summary
Diene's "three circles" description of "discriminated groups" is very important -- not only because it shapes his entire report, but also because it reflects some of its major flaws.
Diene repeats the "three circles" description in Paragraph 69 at the start of his "Analysis" -- but rephrases part of it in a way that clarifies what he apparently means by "Koreans" and "Chinese" in the "Summary" version.
I have fully critiqued these descriptions in my comments on Paragraph 69 below. Here I wish to short list the three most salient flaws in Diene's "three circles" description.
OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON CONTEMPORARY FORMS
OF RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED
INTOLERANCE, DOUDOU DIÈNE, ON HIS
TO JAPAN MISSION
(3-11 July 2005)
Introduction ...................................................................................... 1 - 3 5
I. GENERAL BACKGROUND ............................................... 4 - 13 5
A. Ethnic and demographic situation ................................. 4 5
B. Historical and social context ......................................... 5 - 8 5
C. The legal system ............................................................ 9 - 11 6
D. The administrative structure .......................................... 12 7
E. Methodology .................................................................. 13 7
II. PUBLIC AUTHORITIESf POLITICAL
STRATEGY .......................................................................... 14 - 35 7
A. The Buraku people ......................................................... 15 - 21 7
B. The Ainu ......................................................................... 22 - 26 8
C. The people of
D. Koreans and other foreigners ....................................... 28 - 33 9
E. Anti-discrimination legislation ...................................... 34 - 35 10
III. PRESENTATION OF THEIR SITUATION BY THE
COMMUNITIES CONCERNED ......................................... 36 - 68 11
A. The Buraku people ......................................................... 36 - 42 11
B. The Ainu ......................................................................... 43 - 50 12
C. The people of
D. The Koreans ................................................................. 54 - 59 14
E. Foreigners and migrant workers ................................ 60 - 67 16
F. Discriminatory messages on the Internet ................... 68 18
IV. ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT OF THE SPECIAL
RAPPORTEUR ................................................................... 69 - 73 18
V. RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................... 74 - 97 19
Special Rapporteur, in pursuance of his mandate, visited
What does Diene mean by "stakeholders"? Does he mean that human rights come down to the vested interests that certain advocacy organizations have in the outcomes of their political movements?
Whatever the meaning of this peculiar word, Diene did not meet representatives of "all" stakeholders. Or he met them but chose not to name them or present their positions in his report.
2. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur visited a number of communities: in particular, the Buraku community in Nishinari in Osaka, a Korean school in Kyoto, the Utoro Korean community in Uji City in Kyoto, the headquarters of the Buraku Liberation League in Tokyo, the Ainu Association of Hokkaido and the Ainu community of Niburani in Hokkaido. The Special Rapporteur also met with representatives of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Diene fails to disclose that his "Mission to Japan" was guided by the very NGOs and other organizations that been been advocating against Japan's responses to United Nations committees charged with monitoring its compliance with various UN conventions on discrimination and human rights. While such organizations play a vital role in stimulating discussion, the truth is not served by following only their trails, and by looking at issues from only their ideological vistas.
Buraku Liberation League
Diene apparently talked only with Buraku Liberation League (Buraku Kaiho Domei) officials. Most of what he says about "Buraku people" (which he never defines) reflects only BLL's mission to "minoritize" what it calls "buraku residents" (buraku jumin).
However, there are two other major "buraku liberation" and "dowa" advocacy organizations, and both favor "deminoritizing" buraku residents. In fact, a major "buraku problem" historian has very cogently argued that "buraku history" has come to an end, and all that remains to be done is to liberate people from "buraku" labelling and the BLL-style activism that maintains the labelling.
Deminoritization has already begun to undermine BLL's vested interests in "buraku liberation" politics. But BLL continues to aggressively cultivate ties with human rights organizations and publicize its views of the "buraku problem" and "buraku history" before various UN human rights committees.
As a result, almost everyone coming to Japan, from journalists and graduate students, to UNCHR Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene, gets steered to BLL. And BLL's handlers make sure they hear, and believe, only BLL's voice.
Utari Association of Hokkaido
By "Ainu Association of Hokkaido" Diene means the "Utari Association of Hokkaido" [Hokkaido Utari Kyokai]. That HUK does not use "Ainu" in its Japanese organizational name must mean something. But Diene is at the mercy of inferior English translations of HUK literature.
Diene means "Nibutani" -- the heart of HUK's membership.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations [Nihon Bengoshi Rengo Kai] was granted NGO consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1999. Like BLL, JFBA has been actively promoting its views of human rights issues in Japan. And like BLL, it has submitted reports to the United Nations criticizing Japan's reports to UN committees that monitor compliance with its human rights treaties.
In 2001, JFBA submitted an "Alternative Report to the First and Second Periodic Report of JAPA on the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination" [Jinshu sabetsu teppai joyaku ni kan suru dai-1/2-kai Nihon seifu hokokusho ni tai suru Nichibenren repooto] to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). This was JFBA's counter report to reports made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Japan, concerning the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Japan acceded to ICERD in 1995. However, like the United States, it put reservations on Article 4, arguing that application of the article would violate its own constitutional guarantees of freedom of assembly, association and expression.
Japan Civil Liberties Union
Diene also met with the Japan Civil Liberties Union [Jiyu Jinken Kyokai] concerning its proposal for a "Law on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" [Jinshu sabetsu teppai ho]. JCLU was founded in 1947. It styles itself as a "human rights NGO",and had submitted several counter reports to UN committees.
In 1998, JCLU sent the UN Human Rights Committee a Report Concerning the Present Status of Human Rights in Japan (Third Counter Report). It submitted the report to "provide necessary information for your deliberations on the Fourth Periodic Report submitted by the Government of Japan under Article 40 Paragraph 1(b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." JCLU submitted its first and second counter reports in 1988 and 1993.
Special Rapporteur carried out his visit in excellent conditions, thanks to the
full cooperation of the Japanese authorities. He regrets however that he could not
meet with a number of high-level authorities, in particular the Governor of
Tokyo. The Special Rapporteur also
thanks the United Nations Information Centre in
Did Diene want to meet "the Governor of Tokyo" -- or Ishihara Shintaro, who just happened to be the governor of Tokyo?
What would Diene have asked Ishihara that he could not have asked the governors of other prefectures? Like the governor of Okinawa? Or the governors of Akita or Chiba or Gunma or Niigata?
I. GENERAL BACKGROUND
A. Ethnic and demographic situation
"Ethnic and demographic situation" is a very odd and misleading heading. A more appropriate heading would be simply "Demographic situation" or "National and ethnic composition of population".
"one indigenous population"
Apparently Diene feels that only "the Ainu" are properly described as an "indigenous population".
Why are Okinawans -- why, indeed, are the vast majority of all Japanese -- not part of Japan's "indigenous" population?
Prehistorical and historical anthropological evidence simply does not support Diene's contention that "the Japanese population" has "one indigenous population" called "the Ainu".
Diene describes "Koreans" as "the largest foreign community". How can "Koreans" (or any nationality cohort) be described as "a community"? The so-called "Korean" cohort includes many kinds of people living under many kinds of conditions all over Japan. In no sense is this cohort a singular entity. It is not monolithic with regard to "nationality" or any other trait that would qualify it as "a community".
What is the significance of the "the" in expressions like "the Ainu" and "the Chinese, Brazilians, and Filipinos"? Does Diene tag these nationality cohorts "the" to imply that they are somehow singular? Does he tag also them "the" in order to racialize them -- a common use of this definite adjective?
Chinese, Brazilians, and Filipinos -- like Japanese -- are nationalities. Chinese, Brazilians, and Filipinos -- like Japanese -- come in all racial and ethnic colors. Those Diene calls "the Ainu" are Japanese.
Ainu population estimates
Since Japanese nationality is a purely civil status, and race and ethnicity are private matters, Japan cannot legally confer minority status on any Japanese of self-styled Ainu or any other raciality or ethnicity. Moreover, no polity in Japan is legally permitted to differentiate Japanese or foreigners on the basis of their putative race or ethnicity.
The only legal criterion for differentiating people on national censuses in Japan is nationality. One is either Japanese, or non-Japanese (including stateless), by virtue of nationality. Japanese nationality is based entirely on whether one is qualified to be a member of a family register as a result of acquiring nationality under provisions of the Nationality Law.
Since family registers also serve as nationality registers, or registers of persons with Japanese nationality, qualifications for membership in a family register are based on the Nationality Law. And race or ethnicity have never been qualifications for acquiring Japanese nationality, whether at time of birth or later through adoption (1899 law) or naturalization (1899, 1947, and 1985 laws).
Any attempt by the Japanese government or by a local (prefectural or municipal) polity to racialize anyone would violate the letter and spirit of Article 14 of the Constitution.
In this regard, Diene should have acknowledged that his lower estimate of the number of Ainu people in Japan (30,000) is based on HUK membership and other metalegal data. He should also have disclosed that the upper estimate (50,000) is pure speculation: it could just as well be 500,000 or 5,000,000.
B. Historical and social context
the fifteenth century, the Japanese started to move into the island of
Hokkaido, ancestral land of the Ainu people, and imposed on the Ainu strict
rules impeding them from carrying out their main activities like hunting and
fishing, and practising their traditional rituals. After 1867, the Meiji Restoration, the
modern Japanese nation State started to exploit
The 15th century is about a millennium too late to begin a discussion of relations between "the Japanese" and "the Ainu".
"the Japanese" and "the Ainu"
Diene racializes "the Japanese" and "the Ainu" as singular populations. Today, the variety of people he singularizes as "the Ainu" are Japanese. In the 15th century, "the Ainu" were more diverse than today, and "the Japanese" didn't exist as a nationality.
Diene collectively blames "the Japanese" and collectively victimizes "the Ainu" on account of territorial confrontations between Matsumae and other Japan-related domains and Ainu-related villages on Ezo, not Hokkaido -- which did not exist until the late 19th century.
As for Hokkaido being anyone's "ancestral land" -- where were "the Ainu" before they came to the island? Or did they just drop from Ezo pines in a flurry of punctuated equilibrium?Why do the roots of some Ainu in Hokkaido go back to different parts of Hokkaido? Or to Saghalin? Or to the Kuriles? What about the ancestral lands of the Ainu-related populations that are known to have inhabited the northern parts of Honshu?
The questioning Diene refers to, as to whether Japan is a "mono-ethnic nation", came in the 1980s, not the 1990s. His use of "nation" instead of "state" is odd -- since, from the point of view of the United Nations, Japan is neither a "nation" or a "nation-state" but a just a "state".
The notion of Japan as a monoethnic (monoracial) state has always been controversial among politicians and bureaucrats. The history of governmental ambivalence as to whether Japan's nationality is racially or ethnically homogeneous goes back to the 19th century.
At the time Japan enacted its first Nationality Law in 1899, the government recognized that Japanese nationality was a racial and ethnic hybrid. While some politicians and bureaucrats have been guilty of characterizing Japan as "homogeneous" with respect to race, language, culture, and historical experience, recognition that Japan's population is anthropologically mixed has not changed.
Ainu recognition limited
Japan recognized the existence of "Ainu people" [Ainu no hitobito] as an ethnic minority [shosu minzoku] in a 1987 report submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the United Nation's Human rights Committee in connection with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Japan ratified in 1979. However, this recognition did not extend to individuals.
While people may disagree about the racial and ethnic composition of Japanese nationality, there are no grounds for doubting that Japan is "mononational state" -- meaning that every national of Japan has the same quality of civil nationality, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Japan's Constitution does not permit any polity, national or local, to racialize the country's nationality.
The people of
By "the people of Okinawa" does Diene mean all people who are legally domiciled in the prefecture? Or is "the people of" another example of linguistic racialization -- the use of "people" to mean an "ethnic people" or "race"?
If, as Diene contends, the Ryukyu Kingdom was conquered and annexed by Japan as late as 1879 -- centuries after "the Japanese" are supposed to have moved into the "ancestral land" of the Ainu -- why are "the people of Okinawa" not also an "indigenous people" -- since they are Japanese, and since he refers to their culture and customs as "indigenous"?
US military bases
Why does Diene contend that the majority of US military bases in Japan have been concentrated in Okinawa "since 1972"? Did he not hear or read somewhere that Okinawa had been occupied by the United States, and was under US administration, from 1946 until 1972? Or is this his way of reckoning that Okinawa did not again become a part of Japan until 1972?
The caste-like class system
the feudal era of the
After talking about "the Ainu" in terms in the 15th century, and "the people of Okinawa" in the 19th century, we are suddenly pulled back to the 17th century to talk about a "caste-like class system" -- though the history of so-called "senmin" goes back at least one millennium earlier.
"bottom of new class system"
When the "caste-like class system" of the Edo period was abolished in 1871, all people who had been classified as "eta" or "hinin" and such became "heimin" (commoners) -- as did everyone else except a few high-caste samurai, and relatives of the imperial family, who were given titles of nobility. The legal facts of Japanese social history simply do not support Diene's contention that "eta" and "hinin" became "the Buraku people" at the bottom of a "new class system". Outcastes ceased to exist when statuses like "eta" and "hinin" were abolished in 1871.
The Buraku Liberation League is a postwar reincarnation of the "The Levelers Society" (Suiheisha), a proletarian-spirited (socialist/communist) organization established in 1921 to "liberate" former outcaste settlements from vestiges of social discrimination. Local governments (and later national agencies) have been supporting regional improvement projects under the banner of "integration" or "mainstreaming" (first "yuwa", later "dowa") since no later than 1932.
Dissent within BLL
In the 1960s, BLL's demands for special measures to improve conditions in so-called buraku were opposed by dissenting BLL members who objected to the intimidation tactics that BLL's leaders had been justifying as means to gain special treatment for former outcaste neighborhoods in which BLL had established cells. Many of the dissenters were communists that BLL's leaders wanted to purge from the organization.
The dissenters opposed singling out former outcaste neighborhoods for special treatment. They believed the only way to eliminate vestiges of discrimination was to improve housing and other facilities in all neighborhoods that suffered from poverty.
Dissenters form Zenkairen
In 1970, dissenters set up the All Japan Liaison Council to Normalize the Buraku Liberation League [Buraku Kaiho Domei Seijoka Zenkoku Renraku Kyogi Kai] to organize their opposition to BLL's main faction. The council became the All Japan Federation of Buraku Liberation Movements [Zenkoku Buraku Kaiho Undo Rengokai] (Zenkairen) in 1976. And in 2004, deciding to put its organizational name where its ideological mouth was, BLL's nemesis restyled itself as the National Confederation of Community Human Rights Movements [Zenkoku Chiiki Jinken Undo Sorengo] (Zenjinren) in 2004.
Zenkairen versus BLL
BLL was supported by the Japan Socialist Party (JSP), and Zenkairen was backed by the Japan Communist Party (JCP). Zenkairen (Zenjinren) endeavored to expose BLL's tactics and vested interests. Though its arguments have sometimes been insufferably doctrinaire and self-righteous, its voice has been one reason BLL has failed to get the government to enact a Fundamental Law for Buraku Liberation [Buraku kaiho kihon ho] and pass a new dowa measures law.
While BLL has continued to push for "buraku liberation", Zenkairen celebrated the expiration in 2002 of the final extension to the 1969 special measures law it had opposed since its proposal in 1965. Scholars who shared Zenkairen's view of the "buraku problem" declared an "end to buraku history". They argued that "buraku discrimination" had become a problem of the past. The small risk of encountering discrimination that still existed could best be reduced by liberating everyone from the very notion of "buraku". And in 2004, Zenkairen eliminated "buraku" from its organizational name and became Zenjinren.
BLL, though, wants to keep the word "buraku" and its "buraku liberation" movement alive. Toward this end, it has been very actively campaigning, in Japan and overseas, to "minoritize" buraku residents.
BLL's racialist lobbying
Over the years, BLL has also been petitioning a number of United Nations human rights committees. In particular, it has lobbied the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which monitors compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), to get the Japanese government to recognize that residents of former outcaste communities are in some sense a "descent" minority and therefore fall within the scope of ICERD.
Of course, recognizing "buraku residents" under ICERD would be tantamount to "racializing" them -- contrary to BLL's (and ever buraku liberation and dowa organization's) claims that people who can trace their ancestry to yesteryears eta/hinin outcastes "are not of a different [biological] race [ijinshu] or a different [ethnic] race [iminzoku], but without doubt are [of] the Japanese [ethnic] race [Nihon minzoku], [and are] Japanese people [nationals] [Nihon kokumin]."
Never mind that this is a highly racialist statement. Never mind that it racializes Japanese, and virtually equates "Japanese race" with "Japanese nationality" -- thus undermining the racial and ethnic neutrality of Japanese nationality -- which includes not only people of Ainu, Okinawan, Chinese, and Korean ancestries, but people of numerous other racial, ethnic, and national ancestries.
The problem is that, such efforts on BLL's part to set buraku in liberation concrete, and to institutionalize special status and entitlements for buraku residents -- in the name of human (much less "racial") rights -- is totally contrary to the spirit of the 1871 abolition of outcaste status, and Article 14 of the 1947 Constitution, which prohibits any laws that discriminate on the basis of race or status.
The colonial past
Korea did not become a Japanese "province". It became one of the external subnations (gaichi) of Japan's sovereign dominion, the legal core of which was internal or prefectural nation (naichi)
Taiwan, Karafuto, and Korea were subnational territories within the sovereign Empire of Japan. As polities, however, they were legally external to the polity consisting of the prefectures. Since the Meiji Constitution and related national laws applied only to the prefectures, Taiwan, Karafuto, and Korea were administered under acts which consisted of adaptations of national laws and special ordinances.
In 1942, the three external subnations were considered ready for legal integration into the prefectural nation. As a first step they were placed under the Home Affairs Ministry in 1942, and the following year Karafuto became Japan's 48th prefecture, at the top of the north-south list ahead of Hokkaido.
In August 1945, during the final week of the war, Karafuto was invaded, occupied, and in effect claimed (or reclaimed) by the Soviet Union. Under the terms of Japan's unconditional surrender, Taiwan was formally transferred to the Republic of China. Korea, however, was occupied by the USSR in the north and the United States in south. In 1948 the Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded in the south, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was founded in the north.
"Koreans" and "the Japanese"
Not only was Korea never a "province" of Japan, but arguably it was not exactly a "colony" either. Historically, the sovereign Empire of Korea became an internationally recognized part of the sovereign Empire of Japan.
As a result of Japan's nationalization of Korea, people with family registers affiliated with the Korean subnation became Japanese. Under both Japanese and international law, "Japanese" included all subjects of the Empire of Japan. Hence it is not accurate to contrast "Koreans" with "the Japanese" when speaking of Korea at the time it was part of the Empire of Japan.
Some Korean Japanese accepted their legal status as Japanese and willingly contributed to the efforts to develop Korea into a subnation worthy of becoming a prefecture.
"the Korean language discouraged and then totally forbidden"
While assimilation measures here undoubtedly sweeping and at times arrogant, and sometimes harsh, the Korean language was never "totally forbidden". Korea's national education system, and the movement to make all Koreans literate in hangul, began under Japanese rule.
"obliged to participate"
Japanese of Taiwanese, Karafutoan, and Korean subnationality [minseki] were obliged to participate in the war effort because they were Japanese. Many distinguished themselves in battle and otherwise proved themselves to be loyal imperial subjects.
Diene's figures on Koreans he claims were submitted to "forced labor" are hugely exaggerated. Of the roughly two million Korean Japanese in the prefectures at the end of the war, about half had freely come during the decades before the start of World War II to work or study. They participated in local and national life as Japanese. Some were even elected to office. Because most of these Korean Japanese had settled in the prefectures, they stayed after the war only to lose their Japanese nationality.
Roughly one million Korean Japanese were brought, many against their will, from the peninsula to the prefectures in the early years of the war to work. Most of these laborers, who had no family in the prefectures and had not otherwise settled there, returned to the peninsula shortly after the end of the war.
Diene's "two Koreas" were separated long before they became "independent". There was a Republic of China to receive jurisdiction of Japanized Taiwan in 1945. But there was no state of Korea to receive the Japanized former Empire of Korea.
Koreans celebrate the end of the war as "liberation" but they were not, in fact, liberated. Korea was occupied and divided by the USSR and the United States. Three years were to pass before ROK and DPRK emerged as states.
But the two Koreas were independent only in name. Both continued to be ruled by dictators with ties to their cold-war allies. And both still bear, today, the unfortunate legacy of the divisive USSR/USA occupation.
Korean nationalities are pluralistic
To describe the variety of "Koreans" that are scattered all over Japan as "a large community" exemplifies the sort of romantic racialism that characterizes Diene's report. Descendants of Korean Japanese who stayed after the war and lost their Japanese nationality are by no means a singular "community".
The combined population of ROK nationals and legacy (former) Chosen nationals who qualify for special permanent residence status in Japan is rapidly dwindling. But that of other ROK nationals, who have migrated to Japan since 1945, is quickly increasing.
Koreans with special permanent residence status include people who were once members of family registers in prefectures, who married into, or were adopted into, Taiwanese, Karafutoan, or Korean registers. Japanese with Taiwanese, Karafutoan, or Korean subnationality became prefectural subnationals if they married into, or were adopted into, a prefectural register.
"Korean" not ethnic
In other words, the rules that governed movement between subnational registers were essentially the same as those that governed movement between prefectural registers. Everyone was Japanese, and in marriage and other matters of family law, registers in Taiwan, Karafuto, and Korea were eventually treated the same as registers in Akita, Chiba, Gunma, and Niigata, say.
Whether one was a prefectural (naichi) or Taiwan, Karafuto, or Korea (gaichi) subnational was based entirely on family register status, not putative race or ethnicity. Hence it is improper to characterize being a Korean (or Chinese or Peruvian or whatever) in Japan as "ethnic". Korean nationalities (ROK, DPRK, legacy Chosen), like Japanese nationality, derive from family register status and hence are neutral with respect to race and ethnicity.
C. The legal system
10. Legislative efforts were made in order to promote certain rights of some minorities. A series of laws for the elimination of discrimination against the Buraku were adopted in 1969, but terminated in 2002. In 1997, a law for the promotion of the Ainu culture was adopted, and, in 2002, a law on human rights education.
Diene creates the impression that the government "terminated" a law for "the elimination of discrimination" against "the Buraku". The law he refers to was not "terminated" but was "phased out".
It was not a law for "the elimination of discrimination" against "the Buraku" -- but was a law for improving economic and other conditions of life in "dowa chiku" or "dowa areas". Though "dowa" is often translated "integration", "mainstreaming" would be a better metaphor for "do" (assimilation) and "wa" (harmonization).
1969 Special Provisions Law
In 1969, a bill called the Law of Special Provisions for Dowa Countermeasures Projects [Dowa taisaku jigyo tokubetsu sochi ho] was adopted by the Diet. The bill was backed by the majority Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and by the BLL-affiliated Japan Socialist Party (JSP) and a few smaller opposition parties. However, it was opposed by the Japan Communist Party (JCP), which on principle objected to the law's focus on dowa areas to the exclusion of other neighborhoods in need of infrastructure improvement and economic incentives.
The law was intended to operate for only ten years. However, it was extended several times, with modifications in its name and changes in some of its provisions.
Essentially the law provided funds for construction of housing and improvement of infrastructure, and business incentives in the form of easier loans with lower interest rates, and tax breaks. The funds and incentives were reduced, then both were ended. Most of the funds were slated for dowa areas under BLL control and were administered through BLL offices.
Why special provisions were phased out
The 1969 Special Provisions Law was phased out because the national government felt it had done enough to improve conditions in dowa areas through preferential entitlements not available to non-dowa areas. Conditions in some dowa areas had been improved to higher standards than surrounding neighborhoods, occasioning feelings of "reverse discrimination".
In the future, prefectural and municipal governments would have to implement projects required to improve conditions in dowa areas through ordinary laws. After all, the purpose of the Dowa Countermeasures Law was "dowa". And what better way of mainstreaming dowa areas than by returning to egalitarian principles and treating them like other neighborhoods?
only provision in national legislation which prohibits racial discrimination is
article 14 of the Constitution, but its provisions are not considered by
courts to be self-executing.
Since the provisions of ICERD are also considered to be not self-executing, there is at present no provision in the national legislation that outlaws racial discrimination and provides a judicial remedy for the victims.
Article 14 is not the only provision in the Constitution that prohibits racial discrimination.
Part 1 of Article 14 provides that
Article 44 provides that
What Diene says about the lack of a "self-executing law" concerning racial discrimination is true but misleading. Apart from whether such a law is necessary, the meaning of "self-executing" needs clarification.
A law, or an article in a law, is "self-executing" or "self-operating" if its stipulated effects can be realized when its stipulated causes are satisfied. The effects could be qualifications, privileges, awards, or other benefits, or suspensions, fines, penalties, or other punishments. The causes could be reaching a certain age, passing a test, earning a given income, failure to feed a parking meter, overstaying a visa, a unauthorized billboard, whatever.
Complex laws, like the Nationality Law, have both self-operating and non-self-operating articles. Provisions for gaining Japanese nationality at birth are, in principle, self-operating. If one's mother or father was a Japanese national at the time of one's birth, one can gain Japanese nationality.
No law can be truly self-operating
However, no self-operating law or article is automatically executed. And in some cases, such as when acquiring nationality, execution is prompted by application.
In any event, some form of official mediation is usually required. Documents have to be authenticated and information verified. And there may be conditions on timing.
Even United States nationality and citizenship are not automatic. To obtain a US passport, one needs a suitable birth certificate, and the certificate will be scrutinized.
Japanese nationality ordinary needs to be confirmed by family registration within 14 days of a child's birth, after which such claims may be subject to adjudication. Even the child of a Japanese mother and/or father may fail to obtain Japanese nationality if its birth is not registered in a timely manner.
Age-based admission to a local elementary school, even parking tickets, require some form of mediation. Families not registered in a locality will not get school admission notifications. You will not be ticketed for illegal parking unless a traffic officer both notices and takes action.
An anti-discrimination law could not be entirely self-operating
Anti-discrimination laws are generally not the sort that are packed with "self-executing" articles. It would be easy to legislate against "No foreigners" signs in places of business or "No foreigners" clauses in real estate ads or or in sports club membership qualifications. Without even a complaint from a potential or actual victim, authorized officials could take action merely on the pretext of the physical presence of such a sign or clause, and could issue legally permitted warnings or orders, or impose applicable penalties, without court intervention.
However, no claim by Party A that Party B said or did something that discriminated against Party A (much less against party C), in a manner defined by a specific article in a specific law, could be dealt with under self-operating criteria. Claimants would have to be able to prove their allegations to the satisfaction of a court or other objective hearing board.
Five reasonable aims of an anti-discrimination law
Having said this, I am not in principle opposed to a law that
D. The administrative structure
executive power in
Special Rapporteur based his investigation on three main questions he addressed
to all interlocutors he met: (1) Is
there racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia in
II. PUBLIC AUTHORITIESf POLITICAL AND LEGAL STRATEGY
14. Certain national and local authorities with whom the Special Rapporteur met recognized the discrimination against certain groups, while others minimized it. Overall, these authorities identified the following groups as being victims of discrimination: the Buraku, the Ainu, the Koreans, the Chinese and other foreigners, and migrant workers.
The expression "discrimination against certain groups" is problematic because it assumes the existence of "groups" and limits itself to acts of discrimination against such "groups" -- whereas, in the real world, most alleged acts of discrimination are against individuals.
Here, again, we see the curious expression "the Buraku" -- in which Diene capitalizes "Buraku" and prefixes it with "the". Also curiously, Diene now puts "the Buraku" ahead of "the Ainu" and "the Koreans".
"and other foreigners"
It is not clear where the "and other foreigners" list begins. Does Diene mean "the Chinese and other foreigners"? Or are "the Koreans" (if not also "the Ainu" and "the Buraku" also foreigners?
It is clear elsewhere in Diene's "Mission to Japan" report that he does not appreciate the meaning of "nationality" in Japan. For he racializes "the Japanese" and "Koreans" -- to the point that he considers "Koreans who . . . have Japanese nationality" as "foreigners" (see, for example, Paragraph 66 and comments).
A. The Buraku people
15. The ministries of the central Government indicated that a consultative commission on the question of Dowa (name given to the Buraku question) established by the Government issued a report in 1965 that recognized the discrimination against the Buraku people as a fundamental human rights issue, and called for an urgent solution which gis the nationfs responsibility and simultaneously a task for all citizensh. Consequently, the Diet adopted in 1969 the Law on Special Measures for Dowa Projects, aimed at improving the living environment of Buraku districts, and improving access to employment and education. This law was terminated in 2002, when the Government considered that the situation of Buraku people had improved and that the question could now be dealt with by common law.
Here "the Buraku" have become "the Buraku people" and "Buraku people".
"dowa problem" and "buraku problem" not the same
Diene defines either "question of Dowa" or just "Dowa" as "name given to the Buraku question". But "dowa mondai" (dowa problem) and "buraku mondai" (buraku problem) are not synonyms.
People who speak of the "dowa problem" generally feel that the solution to the problem is "dowa" -- "assimilation and harmonization" -- "integration" -- "mainstreaming" -- to the point that there are no "buraku" distinctions. Whereas those who speak of the "buraku problem" as a continuing issue tend to want to perpetuate the use of "buraku" as a label for what BLL considers former outcaste settlements -- and perhaps, like BLL, minoritize the residents of such localities.
The government and some human rights organizations favor "dowa" because it seeks to end the "buraku problem" -- whereas BLL and its allies seek to create and maintain the sort of "buraku identity" that Diene appears to endorse by labels like "the Buraku" and "the Buraku people".
16. However, the discriminatory mentality against Buraku people persists, and the governmental strategy is now to fight such a mentality not only concerning Buraku people but in relation to all groups affected by discrimination. This is done principally through human rights education policies promoted by the Ministry of Education, which includes the teaching of human rights at school and the training of teachers.
It is not at all clear what Diene means by "the discriminatory mentality against Buraku people persists". Exactly where does such a "mentality" exist, must less persist?
the regional level, the
Here again we see "the Buraku community" where apparently "the Buraku people" or simply "Buraku people" reside. Allegedly some forms of discrimination collectively affect the singular "community" and the singular "Buraku people" who reside there.
18. Following the scandal of 1975 revealing that private detectives were selling to companies and potential marriage partners directories known as gBuraku listsh, which included information on Buraku community locations, names of households etc., to be used for discriminatory purposes, in 1985 the Osaka prefecture adopted a municipal ordinance, which for the first time in Japan prohibited such investigation.
There have, for certain, been problems with the abuse of lists of addresses of former outcaste neighborhoods. They are easy to compile, since obviously such neighborhoods have been known historically.
Even BLL uses "buraku lists"
Public agencies that have had to administer special projects in former outcaste neighborhoods, and activist organizations like BLL, have had to maintain lists of where they are in terms of their specific addresses. And, of course, all the many surveys that have been conducted in such neighborhoods over the past century, by public agencies and activist organizations, have had to make use of such lists.
The problem, then, is not whether one compiles or possesses a "buraku" or "dowa area" list. Rather it is how one uses such a list. While it is fine to prohibit private investigators or employers from using such lists in order to identify someone as a present or former "buraku resident", such laws will not stop people who are really concerned about someone's possible "buraku connections" from finding out.
Abuse of information not just a "buraku" problem
The more general problem, of course, is how to protect all people from all forms of abuse of information about them -- including their age and gender, income, occupation, credit rating, and medical history -- to list only a few broad categories. Add "race" and "nationality" and "religion" if you wish.
All manner of lists could be used in a discriminatory manner. Lists of communist party members or ex-convicts. Lists of people who have been diagnosed for a particular genetic disorder, who have defaulted on a loan or declared personal bankruptcy, who have bought a copy of a book on how to make sarin gas, who have signed a certain petition.
The possibilities are endless.
He's from a buraku. She worked her way through college in a soapland. He doesn't have a secure job. She has a degenerative hip problem that will probably disable her before she's forty. His father and grandfather committed suicide. She lived in the US for ten years, half of that with an American boyfriend. His father was arrested for holding a mirror under a girl's skirt on an escalator. She's Chinese.
Discrimination in marriage not a legal issue
The point needs to be made that reports of discrimination in marriage have become fewer and fewer. It is clear that such discrimination is dying. Why not let it die a natural death?
If a man and woman want to marry, they can marry. Any man and woman of legal age are free to marry -- despite objections, for whatever reason, from his or her family.
Marriage is essentially a personal and family matter. Family members are free to have differences of opinion, and they should be free to resolve such differences within the family.
Odds of discrimination small
What, in any event, are the odds that someone with a "buraku connection" will be rejected by a prospective spouse, or by the prospective spouse's family -- because of such a connection? Are the odds of incurring such discrimination any worse than, say, not being welcome because one graduated from only middle school? Or lacks secure employment? Or dyes one's hair?
Now we are talking about "the mentalities of non-Buraku people". Exactly who are these people? Are "non-Buraku people" also a "group"?
Marriage in buraku
Data from previous surveys spanning several decades show that "intermarriage" rates between people of buraku and non-buraku residency have been rapidly increasing. Reluctance-to-marry rates and experiences of parental opposition, possibly involving apprehensions about buraku connections, have also been rapidly dropping.
And now only 20 percent of the apparently "non-Buraku people" who were surveyed in Osaka in 2000 were "still" reluctant to accept a marriage with a buraku-connected person. This means that 80 percent were not. So how can "the mentalities of non-Buraku people" be characterized as being a problem?
Even if the reluctance-to-marry rate were to remain at 20 percent -- how can this possibly be a problem? If you were to survey any sample of people today, regarding almost any preference in a spouse, 20 percent would be found to oppose -- bank clerk, shorter, ordinary income, Todai grad.
Residence in buraku
If I had a choice between two neighborhoods -- one controlled by BLL, the other free of such politics -- I would probably choose the one free of such politics. Part of the reluctance to marry or employ someone from a so-called "buraku" appears to be because of fear the person may be involved in, or be related to someone who is involved in, BLL politics.
BLL has contributed to the "buraku are frightening" image by its own highly publicized intimidation tactics. In the past several years, there have been practically no reports of BLL-backed denunciations, as BLL has had to improve its public image in order to increase its credibility as a human rights organization that respects freedom of speech. Still, the image of "buraku" as homes of BLL activists who are waiting to mob any publishing company or employer or school in hachimaki and armbands, and with banners and megaphones, persists.
There are also reports that, thanks to nearly thirty years of special dowa entitlements, some people outside dowa areas resent the fact that the areas have received preferential treatment in a society that is supposed to be egalitarian. Such resentment is exacerbated by reports of misuse of funds in dowa projects, and of fraud perpetrated by impostors who claim to be dowa-related.
Kyoto and Osaka
Kyoto and Osaka prefectures are in the heart of western Japan, where over three-fourths of all dowa areas are found. Kyoto prefecture has roughly three times as many dowa areas with roughly one-third the number of dowa related residents as Osaka prefecture.
In other words, Kyoto is sprinkled with a lot of small dowa areas whereas Osaka has fewer more heavily populated dowa areas. Both prefectures, and their capital cities of the same name, have been the most important stages of buraku liberation movements since the beginning if such movements a century ago.
BLL and its ideological rival Zenjinren are now headquartered in Tokyo, to facilitate their national and international political strategies. However, the heart of BLL's operations -- its research and publicity organ (BLHRRI), and its publishing company (LPH), are at the same address in Osaka city. And Zenjinren's research organ (IBP) is in Kyoto city.
Suiheisha got its start in Kashihara in what is presently Gose city in Nara prefecture in 1921. The Suiheisha Museum [Suiheisha Hakubutsukan, renamed from Suiheisha Rekishikan in 1999], has some interesting neighbors. Immediately to the west is the Gose Municipal Kashihara Liberation Center [Gose Shiritsu Kashihara Kaiho Sentaa]. Immediately east is Jinmu Tenno Shrine [Jinmu Tenno Jinja], which is where the legendary Jinmu is alleged to have been initiated as the first "emperor" (tenno) of the Yamato court.
Immediately in front of the museum, to the north, is Saikoji, the Jodo Shinshu temple where Saiko Mankichi (aka Kiyohara Ichiryu), one of Suiheisha's founders, was born in 1895. A short walk to the south and east is the Suiheisha Proclamation Memorial Stele [Suiheisha Sengen Kinenhi], among other Suiheisha monuments in the area.
In 1922, Suiheisha convened its first annual assembly, at which it presented its "Fellow tokushu burakumin throughout the country, unite!" manifesto, in Kyoto. Suiheisha held most of its annual meetings, including the first three, in Kyoto, followed by Osaka, and Fukuoka and Tokyo. The 16th and last was held in Tokyo in 1940, and in 1942 Suiheisha was dissolved because its key members had been imprisoned for their leftist view and activities.
Immediately after the end of World War II, former Suiheisha members formed the Buraku Liberation National Committee [Buraku Kaiho Zenkoku Iinkai] or BLNC in Kyoto. Most BLNC annual meetings were held in Tokyo and Osaka.
BLNC reorganized itself as Buraku Liberation League [Buraku Kaiho Domei] or BLL in 1955, during a period when Osaka was the most common venue for BLNC/BLL annual assemblies. However, over the decades, most such meets (including most of the earliest) have been convened in Tokyo, followed by Osaka, Kyoto (where the 50th annual assembly was held), and Fukuoka.
Fukuoka has, in some ways, been politically more important to both Suiheisha and BLL than Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka. Fukuoka was the birthplace of Matsumoto Jiichiro (1887-1966), an early Suiheisha activist and chairman, who went to Kyoto for schooling after finishing elementary school in Fukuoka. After spending some time in China, he returned to Japan and from 1910 or 1911 began helping an older brother run a construction company. From 1917 or so he became very active in "liberation movements" and was named chairman of Suiheisha at its 4th annual meet in 1925. He was first elected to the lower house of the national Diet in 1936 as a representative of Fukuoka.
Matsumoto participated in the early formation of BLNC in August 1945 after the end of World War II. He was elected the chairmen of its central committee at its first national assembly in 1946.
A socialist/communist before the war, he became a founding member of the Japan Socialist Party in November 1945. In 1947, receiving the fourth most votes, he was elected on a national ticket to the first House of Councilors under the new Constitution, and then was elected vice-president of the upper house.
In 1949, the conservative Yoshida Cabinet censured Matsumoto for disregarding protocol when Emperor Hirohito convened the Second Session of the Diet in 1948. He was allowed to resume his public duties in 1951 and was successively reelected in 1953, 1959, and 1965, and served in office until his death in 1966.
Suiheisha's members were socialists, included communists, who had to call themselves socialists. Under the Peace Preservation Law, associating with any proletarian cause attracted attention, but declaring oneself a communist was a sure invitation for arrest.
After World War II, leftists of all stripes were legally free to organize political parties. The Japan Socialist Party (JSP) and the Japan Communist Party (JCP) were formed in 1945. JSP's roots go back to various prewar socialist organizations, some more moderate or centrist than others, while JCP traces its origins to a party that was immediately outlawed and forced to go underground in the early 1920s.
JSP quickly became the largest opposition party but was itself divided over a number of issues. The bulk of BLNC's membership consisted of JSP and JCP members. Matsumoto was a member of JSP and arguably more centrist than leftist.
JCP and JSP divide
The socialists and communists disagreed as to the primary object of "buraku liberation". Socialists thought the "buraku problem" originated in status discrimination, and wanted to address discrimination rather than class. The communists, though, attributed the "buraku problem" to capitalism and sought a revolution of the masses. Socialists wanted to minoritize buraku residents as victims of discrimination, whereas communists wanted to liberate them along with the entire working class.
The ideological dispute came to a head in 1965 when the Dowa Measures Report to the Prime Minister recommended a special provisions law to improve conditions in dowa areas. BLL's leadership, now dominated by JSP members, not only endorsed the plan, but worked with the government, through JSP, to ensure that funds and economic incentives would be made available only to dowa areas that were connected with BLL. In other words, BLL would mediate the law on behalf of the dowa areas that were to benefit from its special provision.
BLL's JCP members were outraged that dowa areas not willing to join BLL would be excluded from benefits -- not to mention non-dowa areas that needed better housing, schools, medical facilities, roads, sewers, and small business incentives. Such exclusionism went against the grain of JCP's class-struggle advocacy.
BLL purges communists
1965 was also an election year. The election took place in July, and though the Dowa Measures Council report did not come out until August, its recommendations were already a matter of public record and controversy. And BLL purged communist members who refused to support Matsumoto and other BLL-backed JSP candidates who endorsed the recommendations.
In 1970, one year after the special provisions law was enacted, the communist dissenters organized their opposition to BLL's marriage of convenience with the conservative government by setting up the All Japan Liaison Council to Normalize the Buraku Liberation League [Buraku Kaiho Domei Seijoka Zenkoku Renraku Kyogi Kai]. Unable to switch BLL back to the track of pure class struggle and revolution, in 1976 the council became the All Japan Federation of Buraku Liberation Movements [Zenkoku Buraku Kaiho Undo Rengokai] (Zenkairen).
End of "buraku history"
By beginning of the 21st century, Zenkairen was declaring an end to buraku history and arguing that the real solution to the "buraku problem" was to liberate society from the "buraku" label. And in 2004, putting its organizational name where its ideological mouth was, Zenkairen restyled itself as the National Confederation of Community Human Rights Movements [Zenkoku Chiiki Jinken Undo Sorengo] (Zenjinren).
BLL, however, continues to argue, in counter reports to standing UN committees on human rights, that "buraku discrimination" can only be solved by minoritizing "buraku residents" as victims of potential if not actual discrimination. Accordingly, it continues to promote its draft "Fundamental Law for Buraku Liberation" [Buraku kaiho kihon ho], while opposing proposals for anti-discrimination legislation that lack specific provisions for "buraku discrimination" or fail to recognize the existence of "unliberated buraku". BLL also opposes human rights education that fails to include a favorable account of buraku liberation history.
Does Diene believe that the "communities" of "Buraku people" in Tokyo consist of people who have moved there? From where? And when? Why does he not simply disclose that Tokyo prefecture chooses not to participate in national "dowa area" politics, because it considers its very few former outcaste localities already integrated?
"buraku" and "dowa areas" politically defined
Both "buraku" and "dowa areas" are politically defined. The former are neighborhoods that BLL considers former outcaste settlements. The latter are "buraku" that have been recognized by local polities as neighborhoods that qualify as beneficiaries of specific dowa policies.
However, because there are no outcastes in Japan -- and because no former outcaste neighborhood is forced to continue to want to be regarded as such -- and because no local polity has the legal authority to declare a neighborhood as a former outcaste community against the will of its residents -- recognition as a "dowa area" and/or as a "buraku" is entirely a matter of political arrangements between advocacy organizations like BLL and local (prefectural and municipal) polities.
Tokyo does not report having any "dowa areas" because BLL has to gain political recognition of its claim that a few very small neighborhoods in Tokyo, simply because historically they were parts of outcaste settlements, should be treated as "buraku" or "dowa areas" today.
Dowa area populations in other prefectures
Does Diene intend his focus on Osaka and Kyoto to give the impression that their "communities" of "Buraku people" are the largest in Japan? Does he not know that there are more "buraku residents" in Fukuoka, and almost as many in Hyogo, than in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures combined?
Does he know that the percentage of "dowa related" people in the population of Kochi prefecture exceeds five percent? And nearly five percent in Nara, over four percent in Wakayama and Tottori, and almost four percent in Tokushima? The proportion of dowa-related people in several other prefectures in western Japan hover around three percent, while compared with only about two percent in Osaka and Kyoto.
The census was not a national census, but a head count of members of HUK -- which permits only self-styled "Ainu" to join its association.
"only includes the people who declared to be Ainu"
People who do not feel strongly enough about being "Ainu" to declare themselves "Ainu" are, by definition, not "Ainu". The same goes for any categorical "race box" minority in, say, the United States when it comes to "counting" people who consider themselves one or another or several of the categorical "minorities " listed on census or other forms.
In other words -- people who don't identify themselves as "Ainu" are not "Ainu". Not only is there no formal racialization of Japanese nationality (which is legally raceless), there are no "racial" criteria for considering oneself "Ainu" -- unlike in the United States, where legal membership in a recognized Native American nation is determined by documentable blood quantum.
23. In 1997, a law for the promotion of the Ainu culture was enacted. It establishes the Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu culture, in charge of implementing the law. This text provides for the promotion of the Ainu language and culture, the research on the Ainu and the dissemination of knowledge about Ainu traditions. The Foundation organizes classes to teach the Ainu language, but does not plan to create a specific writing to prevent the Ainu language from disappearing.
Those who wish to promote the Ainu language are entirely free to decide for themselves how to do this.
Members of indigenous North American nations who wish to maintain their language have to decide goals and means themselves. Some tribes are divided between different writing options. However, the responsibility of deciding how to write a language comes with the freedom to maintain it.
Since ethnicity in Japan is a private matter, Japanese who wish to regard themselves as being of Ainu descent or culture are free to do so. And all those who do so are free to decide whether, and how, to linguistically express their identification with Ainu ancestors or culture.
24. In relation to the discrimination against Ainu people, the Ministry reported that they mainly face vexations and marriage refusals. Concerning social indicators, 16.1 per cent of the Ainu who finish high school continue into higher education, as opposed to the general average of 34.5 per cent in the area. There is a specific programme for scholarships for Ainu, but there are no quotas in universities for Ainu students, since those would be considered unconstitutional.
Face "vexations"? What does this mean?
The meaning of "marriage refusals" is not clear. Imagine this scenario.
This is not the way life works. Marriage is a personal matter. Even if parents oppose the marriage of a couple because one is Ainu, the couple are free to marry.
Specific scholarships for Ainu Japanese are problematic enough. No school should be allowed to discriminate against applicants because of sex, religion, nationality, race, ethnicity, status, or family origin.
Individual Ainu Japanese who have any kind of learning difficulty, including those created or exacerbated by their family situation, including economic conditions, should receive assistance like everyone else with such difficulties. As an egalitarian society, Japan has to provide for all disadvantaged people equally -- without regard to their nationality, race, or ethnicity.
25. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Health and Employment has a programme of professional orientation for Ainu, a recruitment service, and lends money to allow Ainu to find an employment. It briefs managers on the discrimination of the Ainu and promotes their recruitment. The Ministry of Justice has local legal services that mediate between parties in cases of individual conflicts or complaints. For example, in cases of marriage refusal linked to the Ainu origin of one of the persons, the legal service intervenes through mediation in order to resolve the conflict.
All people who have difficulty finding employment should be assisted, without regard to their race, ethnicity, or nationality. Since difficulties differ individually, individual (not national, racial, or ethnic) responses are appropriate.
Employers should be prohibited by law from discriminating against any applicant on account of race or ethnicity. Nationality is another matter, since there may be certain kinds of jobs which should require Japanese nationality.
Since practically all people who consider themselves Ainu are Japanese nationals, they would be protected from discrimination in employment simply by prohibiting employers from making race or ethnicity a qualification for employment.
Again, the term "marriage refusal" is not clear. It is perfectly appropriate for national and local government agencies to mediate in civil disputes. Many agencies already do so.
In private matters like male/female and even business relations, the most a mediating agency can do, in addition to counselling, is to determine if there have been any actionable breaches of promise -- such as when one party reneges on an agreement to marry for an unjustifiable reason.
What, though, constitutes a unjustifiable reason? Is discovery of a future spouse's religion, after promising to marry, grounds for backing out? What about medical conditions that were not disclosed? Or lying about one's education or employment?
If one party changes his or her mind, that's sad. If the reason is because of a discovery or putative ethnicity or race, or even undisclosed hidden nationality, that is even sadder. But are such changes of mind actionable?
Yes, but case by case. Certainly no new laws are required. Any person is now free to sue another person for financial damages and mental anguish allegedly suffered because the other person reneged on a promise to marry.
In "marriage refusal" cases, mediating bodies, including family courts (which are venues for counseling rather than litigation), are prepared to offer legal advice and help concerned parties reach private settlements. Beyond this, public agencies have to respect the personal and familial boundaries of relationship problems.
26. The 1997 law concerns the Ainu culture but does not touch upon the promotion of their human rights. In this regard, the Ministry of Land and Infrastructure indicated that the Japanese Constitution guarantees equality before the law of each Japanese. Therefore, the demands of the Ainu people to get recognition of the rights as indigenous peoples cannot be satisfied, as this would be in breach of the Constitution.
The Japanese government's position is correct. Fortunately, Japanese nationality is a purely civil status. Luckily for Japanese of all races and ethnicities, the Constitution provides that no laws shall discriminate because of race or family origin.
Ancestral discrimination prohibited
Also luckily for all Japanese, the Constitution forbids discrimination because of family origin. Hence all Japanese -- including those who have become Japanese through naturalization -- are equal under the law, regardless of (1) where they were born, (2) who their parents were, or (3) to what parts of the Japan, or the rest of the world, they may trace their lineal ancestors 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000, or however many years ago.
C. The people
27. The Government has taken a set of actions toward Okinawa, including formulating the gOkinawa Promotion and Development Planh, with a view to closing the economic gap with the mainland, establishing the Okinawa Policy Council, composed by all Cabinet ministers and the Governor of Okinawa, so as to deliberate on basic policies regarding Okinawa, and passing the 2002 Law on Special Measures for the Promotion and Development of Okinawa.
The government has not "taken a set of actions toward Okinawa". Okinawa and Hokkaido, unlike other prefectures, have always been administered under special agencies. This is mainly due to the fact that these parts of present-day Japan were nationalized by the Meiji state as the terminal territories of what it considered Japan's "inherent" or "natural" dominion.
While there has been some relaxation of control from the national government, both prefectures continue to have less say in their local affairs than other prefectures -- partly because they are still regarded as strategically important to national defense, and partly because they are proximal to the two most serious and longstanding of Japan's territorial disputes with neighboring states.
Okinawa's economic difficulties are partly due to the long period it was occupied by the United States, and the large percentage of its residents who continue to depend on US military bases for employment.
Between a rock and a hard place
With US military bases, Okinawa has problems. Without US military bases, it has problems. No manner of national government aid will rescue the prefecture from the need to take its destiny as a Japanese prefecture into its own hands.
The prefectural government and municipal governments have been seriously resisting the continuation of the status quo in terms of the presence of US military forces. Okinawa prefecture as a whole has also been seriously grappling with the need to balance protection of its natural environment with economic development.
Okinawa's status not relevant
Anything the national government can do to facilitate greater self-reliance for Okinawa would obviously be welcome. However, its status as a pawn in Japan's defense arrangements with the United States, or as a prefecture that possibly requires more economic support than other prefectures, are not germane to Diene's racial discrimination mandate.
D. Koreans and other foreigners
are around 2 million documented foreigners in
Diene's discussion of "Koreans" in not credible for two reasons: (1) he lumps together -- into a single "group" or "community" of so-called "Koreans" -- several categories of Koreans that do not qualify for special treatment under Japanese treaties and related laws, and (2) the special treatment he describes is extended to several nationalities of aliens with special permanent residence status, and not just to qualified Koreans.
Short list of different kinds of "Koreans" in Japan
There are at least eight categories of "Koreans" in Japan, and only those in Categories 1 and 2 fall within the scope of the issues that Diene raises concerning "Koreans".
Again, only Category 1 and 2 Koreans fall within the scope of the special treatment Diene describes. Moreover, these Koreans include people of different races and ethnicities, since both ROK nationality and legacy Chosen affiliation are based on civil status, meaning membership in a family register either yesteryears Japanese subnation of Chosen, or in its present-day reincarnation as either ROK or DPRK -- both of which consider themselves to be Chosen's rightful successor state.
Diene's characterization of the numbers he calls those of "documented foreigners" is not correct. The figures he refers to are tallies only of registered aliens in Japan as of the end of 2004. There are tens of thousands of other perfectly legal [documented] aliens in Japan at any given time, who are not required to register as a resident of a municipality (ward, city, town, village) -- either because they are in the country for fewer than 90 days, or for other reasons are not required to register and hence do not appear in alien registration statistics.
The breakdown by nationality for the 2000 and 2004 figures of registered aliens by nationality and permanent residence status is as follows.
Note that there are two kinds of permanent residence status.
Note also that the numbers of special permanent residents affiliated with Kankoku/Chosen and Chugoku are decreasing.
Registered aliens by nationality and residency status Permanent residence status by type 2000 2004 Nationality Number Percent Number Percent Total 1,686,444 100.0 1,973,747 100.0 Nonpermanent 1,028,839 61.0 1,195,164 60.6 Permanent 657,605 39.0 778,583 39.4 Special 512,269 (77.9) 465,619 (59.8) General 145,336 (22.1) 312,964 (40.2) Kankoku/Chosen 635,269 37.7 607,419 30.8 Nonperm 95,885 (15.1) 102,999 (17.0) General 31,955 (5.0) 42,960 (7.1) Special 507,429 (79.9) 461,460 (76.0) Chugoku 335,575 19.9 487,570 24.7 Nonperm 282,651 (84.2) 387,617 (79.5) General 48,809 (14.5) 96,647 (19.8) Special 4,151 (1.2) 3,306 (0.7) Brazil 254,394 15.1 286,557 14.5 Philippines 144,871 8.6 199,394 10.1 Peru 46,171 2.7 55,750 2.8 USA 44,856 2.6 48,844 2.5 Others 225,308 13.4 288,213 14.6 (Stateless 2,011 0.1 1,826 0.092) Kankoku/Chosen = ROK and legacy [former] Chosen Chugoku = ROC and PRC Others = Other foreign nationals, including stateless General permanent residents = Ippan eijusha = All other permanent residents Special permanent residents = Tokubetsu eijusha = Peace treaty related permanent residence Source: Ministry of Justice (Some figures calculated by Wetherall)
The above figures suggest the complexity of residency based on types of permanent residence. Here are similar statistics arranged somewhat differently, showing annual figures for the five-year period from 2000 to 2004.
Numbers of registered aliens by nationality and year 1. Total, nonpermanent, and permanent residents by nationality Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Total 1,686,444 1,778,462 1,851,758 1,915,030 1,973,747 Kan/Cho 635,269 632,405 625,422 613,791 607,419 Chugoku 335,575 381,225 424,282 462,396 487,570 Brazil 254,394 265,962 268,332 274,700 286,557 Philippines 144,871 156,667 169,359 185,237 199,394 Peru 46,171 50,052 51,772 53,649 55,750 USA 44,856 46,244 47,970 47,836 48,844 Others 225,308 245,907 264,621 277,421 288,213 (Stateless 2,011 1,941 1,904 1,846 1,826) 2. Permanent residents by type of permanent status and nationality Nonpermanent residents Total 1,028,839 1,093,609 1,137,983 1,172,067 1,195,164 All permanent residents, general and special (Eijusha) Total 657,605 684,853 713,775 742,963 778,583 General permanent residents (Ippan eijusha) Total 145,336 184,071 223,875 267,011 312,964 Kan/Cho 31,955 34,624 37,121 39,807 42,960 Chugoku 48,809 58,778 70,599 83,321 96,647 Brazil 9,062 20,277 31,203 41,771 52,581 Philippines 20,933 26,967 32,796 39,733 47,407 Peru 7,496 11,059 13,975 17,213 20,401 Others 27,081 32,366 38,181 45,166 52,968 Special permanent residents (Tokubetsu eijusha) Total 512,269 500,782 489,900 475,952 465,619 Kan/Cho 507,429 495,986 485,180 471,756 461,460 Chugoku 4,151 4,060 3,924 3,406 3,306 Others 689 736 796 790 853 Kankoku/Chosen = ROK and legacy [former] Chosen Chugoku = ROC and PRC Others = Other foreign nationals, including stateless Source: Various Ministry of Justice reports
The following table shows a breakdown of special permanent residents by nationality for 2000. Note in particular that such status involves many nationalities, not just ROK and legacy Chosen aliens.
Registered aliens by nationality and residency status, 2000 Non-eijusha Recently Ippan Tokubetsu immigrated Total Eijusha eijusha eijusha Teijusha (Estimate) a=b+c b c Total 1,686,444 657,605 145,336 512,269 237,607 Kan/Cho 635,269 539,384 31,955 507,429 9,509 95,000 Chugoku 335,575 52,960 48,809 4,151 37,337 280,000 Brazil 254,394 9,077 9,062 15 137,649 245,000 Philippines 144,871 20,958 20,933 35 13,285 125,000 Peru 46,171 7,498 7,496 2 21,369 38,000 USA 44,856 6,076 5,826 250 1,632 34,000 Others (Stateless 2,011 540 348 192 439) Kankoku = ROK nationality (kokuseki) Chosen = Legacy of former Chosen subnationality (minseki) Chugoku = ROC and PRC nationalities Others = Other foreign nationals, including stateless Eijusha = Permanent residents = Total general and special permanent residents Ippan eijusha = General permanent residents Tokubetsu eijusha = Special permanent residents = Peace treaty related permanent residence Teijusha = Settled residents = 1-3 year special visa status, employment related Non-eijusha = Round estimates of recently arrived aliens, as of 2000 (estimates by Wetherall) Source: Ministry of Justice
"Kankoku/Chosen" and "Chugoku"
"Kankoku/Chosen" and "Chugoku" are the terms use in the Japanese versions of alien registration statistics. These terms are usually translated "Korea" and "China" (or "Koreans" and "Chinese") in English digests of the statistics. However, the Japanese terms better reflect the nuances of Japan's formal relations with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the People's Republic of China (ROC).
The "Chosen" component of the "Kankoku/Chosen" category does not mean the Democratic People's Republic Korea (DPRK), which Japan does not recognize as a state. In fact, it refers to the legacy (no longer extant) nation of Chosen, when it was a subnation of the Empire of Japan. People affiliated with Chosen family registers were of Japanese nationality (kokuseki) with Chosen subnationality (minseki).
Since 1972, "Chugoku" has subsumed the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) into the People's Republic of China (PRC). Until 1972, when Japan and PRC normalized their relationship, Japan recognized ROC, and because ROC claimed PRC and its nationals as part of its territory and nationality, "Chugoku" subsumed PRC into ROC.
Decrease in special status Koreans
Had Diene described the demographics of aliens in Japan dynamically, he would have noted that the number of Koreans in Japan has been steadily declining since 1991 -- mostly because, though Category 3 Koreans have been slowly increasing, Category 1 and 2 Koreans have been rapidly decreasing.
The decrease in the numbers of special status Koreans is natural. The population naturally decreases through death and naturalization. The population naturally increases mostly when a child is born to a parent who has special permanent residence, and whose other parent is not Japanese. Now and then special permanent residence is granted to someone who had been qualified but not yet obtained the status.
Until 1985, the natural population of special status Koreans in Japan increased only in cases when the father was a Korean with special permanent residence. A child born to a Korean woman married to a Japanese man became Japanese under Japan's 1950 Nationality Law. Whereas the child of a Japanese woman married to an ROK national or legacy Chosen subject became either an ROK national or a legacy Chosen subject.
However, since 1985, Japan's Nationality Law has been primarily ambilineal, meaning that if either a child's mother or father is Japanese, the child becomes Japanese. Whatever other nationalities the child may also acquire through birth, the child will be treated as Japanese under Japanese law. Because the majority of Koreans with special permanent residence are marrying Japanese, the natural increase of special status Koreans is now extremely small, and is totally offset by attrition through death and naturalization.
It is therefore just a matter of time before the Category 1 and 2 Korean demographic cohort all but vanishes. The vanishing is accelerated not only by intermarriage, but also by the fact that younger Koreans born and raised in Japan, like their Japanese age peers, are less interested in marriage and children.
The following figures, spanning two decades from 1985 to 2004, clearly show the rise, peak, and fall of the general Korean population in Japan.
All registered aliens, and registered Koreans and Chinese, by year Total, and permanent and nonpermanent residents, 1985-2004 All registered aliens Koreans (ROK, Chosen) Chinese (ROC, PRC) Year Total Permres Nonperm Total Permres Nonperm Total Permres Nonperm 1985 850,612 683,313 74,924 1986 867,237 655,696 211,541 677,959 627,423 50,536 84,397 22,757 61,640 1987 884,025 673,787 95,477 1988 941,005 648,012 292,993 677,140 617,324 59,816 129,269 23,594 105,675 1989 984,455 681,838 137,499 1990 1,075,317 645,438 429,879 687,940 610,924 77,016 150,339 25,068 125,271 1991 1,218,891 693,050 171,071 1992 1,281,644 635,422 646,222 688,144 598,241 89,903 195,334 25,510 169,824 1993 1,320,748 631,812 688,936 682,276 210,138 1994 1,354,011 631,554 722,457 676,793 588,439 88,354 218,585 27,381 191,204 1995 1,362,371 626,606 735,765 666,376 580,122 86,254 222,991 28,253 194,738 1996 1,415,136 626,040 789,096 657,159 572,564 84,595 234,264 30,376 203,888 1997 1,482,707 625,450 857,257 645,373 563,338 82,035 252,164 32,899 219,265 1998 1,512,116 626,760 885,356 638,828 554,875 83,953 272,230 35,940 236,290 1999 1,556,113 635,715 920,398 636,548 546,553 89,995 294,201 42,212 251,989 2000 1,686,444 657,605 1,028,839 635,269 539,384 95,885 335,575 52,960 282,615 2001 1,778,462 684,853 1,093,609 632,405 530,610 101,795 381,225 62,838 318,387 2002 1,851,758 713,775 1,137,983 625,422 522,301 103,121 424,282 74,523 349,759 2003 1,915,030 742,963 1,172,067 613,791 511,577 102,204 462,396 86,727 375,669 2004 1,973,747 778,583 1,195,164 607,419 504,420@102,999 487,570 99,953 387,617 Source: Ministry of Justice (Homusho), and Statistics Bureau (Tokeikyoku), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (Somusho) Some figures computed by Wetherall
Policies apply to all foreigners with special permanent residents
What the national or local governments do by way of encouraging employment does not apply to "Koreans" in general, but only to those with special permanent residence. However, the same policies also apply to other foreigners with special permanent residence -- including thousands of ROC and some PRC nationals, and individuals with nationalities of several other states, including North and South American states.
There is, in fact, no foundation for Diene's exclusionist focus on Koreans. He has simply been misled to believe that "Koreans" are somehow special.
Kinds of permanent residence
Japan defines two kinds of permanent residence -- general permanent residence [ippan eiju] and special permanent residence [tokubetsu eiju].
General permanent residence falls under the "Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act" [Shutsunyukoku kanri oyobi nanmin nintei ho] (Nyukanho).
Special permanent residence is provided for by the "Special law concerning, inter alia, the exit-entry-country [immigration] control of persons who based on the Treaty of Peace with Japan separated from the nationality of Japan" [Nihonkoku to no heiwa jōyaku ni motozuki Nihon no kokuseki o ridatsu shita mono tō no shutsunyūkoku kanri ni kan suru tokubetsu hō], otherwise known as the "Special Law on Immigration Control" [Nyukan tokurei ho, Shutsunyukoku kanri tokureiho]
Special permanent residence is available to any qualified former exterior subject who was in Japan as of 2 September 1945 and stayed, and to their qualified Japan-born lineal descendants. It has been granted since 1966, first as an entitlement provided only to qualified ROK nationals under the normalization treaty Japan and ROK signed in 1965 (effective from 1966); next to non-ROK Koreans in accordance with a special ordinance enacted in 1981; and finally to everyone who falls within the scope of a special law promulgated and implemented in 1991.
From a standpoint of the human rights of all aliens who reside in Japan under the provisions of the 1991 Special Law of Immigration Control, it is important that "Koreans" not be stressed. Although special permanent residence evolved from the normalization of Japan-ROK relations, and while most aliens with this residency status are ROK nationals or legacy (former) Chosen nationals, the special status, and the benefits that come with it, are not restricted to Koreans.
The remark "many of these [Koreans] were brought forcibly during the past colonial rule and their descendants" is a dead giveaway that Diene needs fact checker. The vast majority of Category 1 and 2 Koreans are descendants of people who freely migrated to the prefectures.
If incidents of discrimination against foreigners are proportional to the number of foreigners, then naturally they "most frequently involve Koreans and Chinese" in Japan.
Diene's remark that "an incident was reported of an African-American male who was refused entry to a shop" invites the reader to believe that entry was refused on account of the person being an "African-American" (whatever this means).
Diene should have written (1) the man claimed he was refused entry because of his putative race, (2) the shop owner denied the man's claim, and (3) at the time Diene was writing his report, the case was in litigation. A few days after the report was released, the court ruled against the claimant, who has since appealed.
30. In addition, there are Koreans who use Japanese names against their will to avoid discrimination. In primary school, only 14.2 per cent of the Korean children use their Korean name. In secondary school, only 9 per cent. Unjustified treatment, such as harassment, verbal abuse, physical violence, or the ripping of the chima chogori (Korean ethnic dress) have taken place one after another after the North Korean side admitted the abduction of Japanese nationals in 2002.
No foreigner uses an alias against his or her will. Foreigners who adopt Yamato-style names which facilitate racial or cultural passing do so because they wish to be regarded as part of the mainstream. Those who can racially pass may adopt such a name because they fear discrimination. Others may do so because they want to avoid unwanted attention. And some do so simply because they consider themselves as part of the Yamatoized mainstream.
Studies of alien registration data have shown that Chinese are less likely to aliases than Category 2 (Chosen) Koreans. And Category 2 (Chosen) Koreans are much less likely to use aliases than Category 1 (ROK) Koreans.
All aliens are free to use the legal names that appear on their primary identification documents, such as family registers, or passports and other travel documents. However, Japanese law permits aliens to register aliases for use in the conduct of their daily life, in lieu of their legal names. No one is forced to adopt an alias. And no one who adopts an alias forced to adopt a Yamato-style alias.
Foreigners who are unable to racially pass in the mainstream may adopt a Yamato-style alias because they wish to culturally assimilate. The phenomenon of name assimilation -- the adoption of mainstream-style names -- found in every country.
In Japan, the practice of mainstream name adoption is voluntary. Some people resort to name assimilation to facilitate racial or cultural passing. Some don't.
Some Koreans have name cards with Korean style names on one side and Yamato-style names on the other. Among Koreans who use their family register / passport names in daily life, some read their names in Sino-Korean, while others adopt Sino-Japanese readings.
"one after another"
Diene's "one after another" characterization of the frequency of harassment of Koreans is another example of phrasing he uses to lead the reader to imagine that the problem is worse than it really is. One case would be grounds for concern. There is simply no evidence that bullying provoked by ethnic bias is endemic in Japan.
Bullying involves all manner of victims. There is no evidence that being perceived as a Korean of any category is more likely to provoke a wouldbe bully than, say, a big nose or conspicuous personality trait.
31. As a response, the Prefecture of Osaka elaborated a five point policy, in consultation with an advisory panel of Koreans, Chinese Japanese and other nationalities: to promote the respect of human rights for the population; to impose on firms of a certain size that they assign specialists in proper recruitment; to provide information and social services in several languages; to publicize the objective of the prefecture to turn Osaka into an international city; and to provide foreigners with opportunities to learn Japanese.
The phrasing "the education of the Korean community" is problematic because there is no single Korean community. There are any number of ideological divides that make the formation of "a Korean community" impossible. Even some Korean families are deeply divided by differences in political, religious, and ethnic views.
"risk of xenophobia"
Again, because Koreans are the largest foreign minority in Kyoto, it is hardly surprising that "discrimination against Koreans" should be the most serious problem of discrimination in the region. When it comes to discrimination, though, aren't women of all nationalities more likely to be treated differently than Koreans of either sex?
No society in the world is without "a risk of xenophobia". Diene shoes no evidence in his report that the risk is higher in Kyoto, Osaka, or anywhere in Japan.
E. Anti-discrimination legislation
34. The Ministry of Justice, which is in charge of human rights, indicated that racism is prohibited under article 14 of the Constitution. However, there is at present no legislation that allows people to denounce racial discrimination and get reparation. The Human Rights Protection Bill was being discussed at the time of the visit (the Parliament having been dissolved, the bill will have to be resubmitted), which may provide for such a possibility.
As remarked at the outset, and in the comments to Paragraph 11 and elsewhere, there is need for an anti-discrimination law in Japan.
Diene calls for "legislation that allows people to denounce racial discrimination and get reparation." But any laws passed in the name of anti-discrimination would also have to protect individuals and organizations from unreasonable, unjust, erroneous, false, and unprovable charges of discrimination.
Criteria for rejecting anti-discrimination bills
All drafts of anti-discrimination laws to date have been inadequate for many reasons. Any bill which has one or more of the following defects should be rejected.
Ministry further explained that article 4 (a) and (b) of ICERD requires State
parties to punish the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or
hatred and incitement to racial discrimination.
The Ministry of Justice is correct. What people say should not be punishable unless it directly results in criminalized threats or acts of violence or libel.
Statistics on "racism" cases
It would not be appropriate for Japan to compile such statistics under present laws, as there is no objective definition of "racism". Such statistics could be meaningfully compiled only if "racism" were to be specifically criminalized, like "homicide" or "perjury" and other categorical offenses.
Such cases would probably increase if a law were passed to encourage people to think of themselves "racially" and to resort to litigation to seek redress for alleged acts of "racism" against them. Since cases involving claims of discrimination include cases in which the claims are dismissed, as well as cases in which the claims are to some extent recognized, meaningful statistics would have to differentiate at least two kinds of cases in terms of their outcome: (1) claims fully or partly recognized, (2) claims dismissed.
III. PRESENTATION OF
THEIR SITUATION BY
THE COMMUNITIES CONCERNED
A. The Buraku people
Buraku community indicated that discrimination against them still exists and is
even increasing, while nationalism rises in the current political context. The daily manifestations include
graffiti, posters and Internet messages insulting Buraku people, treating them
as dirty and requesting them to leave, and discriminatory practices, mainly in
the field of employment and marriage.
Employers continue to enquire on the origins of the job applicants, but
there is no local or national legislation that prohibits this practice, except
for the prefectures of
Again, we see the erroneous "the Buraku community" characterization -- because Diene has talked only to people who wish to minoritize (and even racialize) people living in neighborhoods associated with yesteryear's outcaste settlements.
What does "nationalism" have to do with discrimination in dowa areas? Why does Diene feel that "nationalism" is a factor in the discrimination he contends "still exists and is even increasing" in dowa areas?
Assuming that "78 percent of the population of Osaka" would in fact regard "a marriage with Buraku people" (sic) as "problematic" -- what does Diene think they might mean by "problematic"?
How many "marriage partners" use buraku lists to investigate "the origins of their future spouse"?
Diene claims that "discouragement of marriages is a major obstacle to the integration of Buraku people into the rest of the Japanese society". But BLL's own propaganda undermine the credibility of this contention.
BLL often claims that discrimination in marriage is a major problem. Yet BLL also insists that buraku are not characterized by endogamy.
If discrimination in marriage were a measurable problem, then there would be a measurable tendency toward endogamy in dowa areas. However, longitudinal data suggest that marriage between dowa area residents and non-dowa area residents has increased to the point that dowa areas are just as mobile with respect to marriage as other areas.
case of the Nishinari district in
Diene's contention that Nishinari represents "an exception in Japan" is not supported by demographic statistics. Some dowa areas are very middle class or even better off, and some are poorer. Dowa areas appear to be as mobile with respect to moving in and out as other areas of similar socioeconomic composition.
"an exception in Japan"
Diene visited the dowa areas that BLL always showcases to people who approach it for guided tours of the "buraku problem". His portrayal of Nishinari as "an exception in Japan" serves BLL's agenda to minoritize buraku residents.
Mainstreaming in the form of mobility in and out of dowa areas has been the rule for many decades. The two most recent dowa area surveys, conducted in 1985 and 1994, show that only about 58 percent of dowa area residents now consider themselves "dowa related" (dowa kankei).
The 4,594 dowa areas surveyed in 1985 had a total population of 1,998,464 residents -- of which 1,163,372 or 58.2 percent considered themselves "dowa related".
Some 2,010,230 resided in the 4,603 dowa areas surveyed in 1994, and 1,166,733 or 58.0 percent considered themselves "dowa related".
38. Nevertheless, the district has a number of serious problems, as came out of a survey conducted in 2000, which reflect the situation of the majority of the Buraku districts: one household out of five needs income subsidies, the level of schooling is very low (the majority of the elderly residents only completed compulsory education), only 20 per cent of the inhabitants use computers and 10 per cent the internet, which is much lower than the national averages (respectively, 38.6% and 28.9% ), 20 per cent of the houses are insalubrious, 30 per cent of the inhabitants feel useless, and 17.4 per cent were victims of discrimination in relation to marriage. Among young people aged between 15 and 29.17 per cent are unemployed. The elders have extremely low revenues and serious heath problems, 11 per cent of the inhabitants are disabled and only 19 per cent of these people work. In Nishinari, all discriminations intermingle. The strong prejudice against the district is felt: 50 per cent of the inhabitants hesitate to declare their residence.
Nishinari definitely needs help -- but under conventional community improvement programs.
Nishinari's residents would be better off if BLL, instead of mobilizing and radicalizing them to serve its own interests, facilitated their treatment as just another community in need. Nishinari's problems persist partly because BLL has made it a showcase "discriminated buraku" [hisabetsu buraku] with special needs.
39. In this context, the Nishinari community representatives stressed both the urgent need for a law against discrimination, mainly in the area of employment and marriage, which would enable victims to be indemnified, and the need for measures to change the discriminatory mentality. The district leaders became aware that racism and xenophobia are deeply linked with ignorance: neighbouring districts are much less discriminating than the ones that are far away. Therefore, the district is establishing links between various communities, promoting mutual knowledge.
Again, Diene unreasonably links "racism" and "xenophobia" with the "buraku problem" -- simply because he has bought BLL's ideology, which insists that the "buraku problem" is a "minority" problem.
BLL's "buraku liberation" ideology hardens residents of places like Nishinari to continue to think of themselves as victims. Residents of hardcase communities like Nishinari would be much better off if they put more of their collective energy into improving themselves, rather than acting as "victims" who need special laws to be "indemnified".
40. Turning to the historical perspective, the Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute (BLHRRI) explained that, for centuries, the class system placed those who were performing certain work that were avoided by Buddhism, such as disposing dead bodies of cattle, at the bottom of the system, driving them in a situation of exclusion. Later on, when the Japanese identity was construed, those people were not considered as being part of the Japanese people in the collective mentality, and were rejected, perpetuating the discrimination that they still endure. According to BLHRRI, the origins of Buraku discrimination are still not taught sufficiently in the national education system. In addition, the contribution Buraku people gave to the society is not valued: a better recognition of their professions would be a positive step, as well as the dissemination of their cultural specificities (Buraku performing art, culinary specialties, etc.).
Diene fails to disclose that Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute (BLHRRI) is BLL's research and publicity arm. Naturally BLHRRI promotes views of history and society, and of minority politics, that facilitate BLL's agenda to minoritize buraku residents.
Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute is a newer, more fashionable name for what for several decades had been simply Buraku Liberation Research Institute (BLRI). BLRI changed its name to BLHRRI in 1998.
The BLRI/BLHRRI name change came ten years after BLL and BLRI set up an organization called International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), in BLL's Tokyo headquarters. IMADR's founding assembly included the following key people.
While Diene was in Japan gathering data for his "Mission to Japan" report, IMADR organized a panel discussion between Serguei Lazarev, Doudou Diene, and Robert Husbands -- all UN human rights officials -- and members of select Japanese NGOs. The seminar was held in Matsumoto Jiichiro Memorial Hall, Minato-ku, Tokyo -- IMADR's (and BLL's) Tokyo headquarters. Its topic was "Renewing the Struggle Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance".
Diene did not come to Japan to conduct objective research. He came as a result of years of lobbying by NGOs and other organizations with vested interests in the politics and business of human rights in Japan. And he came to do their bidding.
"According to BLHRRI"
Diene has this right. Indeed, he presents only the BLL/BLHRRI view of how "the origins of Buraku discrimination" ought to be taught in schools.
As pointed out in the comments to Paragraph 7, BLL/BLHRRI's view of "buraku history" is hotly contested by human rights organizations like Zenjinren, the successor of Zenkairen, a BLL opposition group that grew out of BLL. Zenkairen/Zenjinren has had its own research and publicity arm, called Buraku Mondai Kenkyujo or "Institute of Buraku Problem" (IBP).
Diene was probably given a large stack of BLHRRI's English-language publications. Judging from the content of his report, he has never read any of IBP's publications.
41. Thanks to the 1969 laws, the gap between Buraku people and the rest of the population was reduced, but the special laws were terminated. According to BLHRRI, it is possible to continue to operate against the discrimination without special measures, but only if the national legislation provides for a clear prohibition of discrimination, and specifically in the field of employment and marriage. The lack of a national law is a serious obstacle to the elimination of discrimination against Buraku people. Also, since the elimination of a Buraku service in the governmental structure in 2002, the negative impact of the lack of a structure addressing the issue is felt. The Buraku Liberation League also underlined the need to conduct a survey on the actual conditions of the Buraku people and to establish a truly independent National Commission on Human Rights.
Of course BLHRRI backs BLL's push for an anti-discrimination law that works in BLL's favor. However, buraku discrimination has continued to abate despite both (1) the phasing out and termination of the special provisions law, and (2) the absence of a law that "provides for a clear prohibition of discrimination".
The main "negative impact" felt by BLL is the economic impact on BLL/BLHRRI activities resulting from (1) the end of public funds that helped BLL maintain its power base in areas receiving "dowa project" benefits, and (2) increasing disinterest in BLL's "buraku liberation" politics.
The same impact has been felt by Zenkairen/IBP. In fact, one reason BLL/BLRI established IMADR -- and one reason BLRI changed its name to BLHRRI and Zenkairen changed its name to Zenjinren -- was to broaden and diversify their foundations of financial support.
IMADR, in effect, was BLL/BLHRRI's way of "reaching out" to other advocacy organizations in Japan and overseas, and forming a "united front" as an NGO with UN consultative status.
In many ways, Diene's report is another fruit of BLL/BLHRRI's lobbying in the United Nation's "human rights" orchard.
IBP's "Fiscal 2005 Operations Plan"
The following very candid statement appears in Buraku Mondai Kenkyujo's "Fiscal 2005 Operations Plan" as posted on its website (retrieved 15 February 2006). It is a remarkable example of how one "buraku liberation" organization is dealing with the need to downscale its operations in recognition of improvements.
Of course, other factors have contributed to the need for both BLL and Zenkairen/Zenjinren, and their research organs, to tighten their budgets.
The end of the Cold War made it more suddenly difficult for socialist/communist organizations throughout the world to continue to conduct their political business as usual. The 1990s witnessed a lot of emergency buttock lifts on the part of socialist/communist organizations, as they sought to minimize the impact on their bottom lines of increasing public doubts about their ideological credibility.
42. Finally, Buraku women suffer from double discrimination: as Buraku, but also as women both outside and inside their community. Some Buraku representatives recognized that women are still far from having the same place as man within the Buraku community, and that an important effort is required.
Diene's reference to "their community" is another example of his insistence on minoritizing, rather than mainstreaming, buraku residents.
If female buraku residents are victims of "double discrimination" -- are Korean women or other such minorities who live in buraku victims of "triple discrimination"?
B. The Ainu
Ainu community feels the discrimination against it very strongly. According to a 1999 survey
conducted by the
The 28.1 percent figure, alleged to be the rate of interviews who "indicated that they had experienced discrimination or known someone who had experienced discrimination" is extremely positive. It means the 71.9 percent of the interviewees had neither experienced or known anyone who had.
So very little discrimination exits. And apparently there are few experiences of discrimination today.
In any case, is discrimination responsible for the poverty and other conditions that result in lower average levels of high school and college entrance? And how would Diene explain the fact that living conditions and education achievement have been improving -- despite there being no national anti-discrimination law?
44. The discrimination faced by Ainu children at school is a serious concern. Ainu children are despised in such a strong way that some of them leave school because such persecutory treatments become unbearable. This affects the life of the entire family, which is sometimes forced to move to another region. Another consequence is that children tend to be ashamed of their identity: therefore, they tend to assimilate into the mainstream culture, and lose their culture and their pride in it. Many Ainu adults also hide their identity for fear of discrimination in finding employment or accommodation.
Diene provides no evidence that the cases he refers to are other than very exceptional.
Of course bullying for any reason should be prevented. And of course no one's self-styled raciality or ethnicity should be the object of harassment or discrimination.
But how does Diene account for the fact that about 25,000 Japanese of self-styled Ainu identity -- including people who have been adopted as into families in which one or both parents are of partly Ainu descent -- are able to acknowledge their identity?
Are all Japanese who could claim to be of Ainu racial or cultural descent obliged to identity as Ainu?
Hasn't Hokkaido Utari Kyokai done a fairly good job in inspiring people of potentially Ainu identity to become members and otherwise identity themselves as Ainu?
against the Ainu is mainly based on old prejudices and mistreatment. The Former Natives Protection Law of
1899 was aimed at assimilating the Ainu by granting plots of land and turning
them into farmers. This law, which
was only abrogated in 1997, gave to the Ainu around six times less land than
that given to the rest of the Japanese who migrated to
The insinuation that all of Hokkaido was Ainu "ancestral land" is disputable. The implication that salmon was the "ancestral traditional food" of all Ainu is also problematic.
Not all Ainu-related people were the same. Different settlements lived under different socioeconomic conditions.
Ethnic-based fishing rights
Fishing companies owned by Japanese who consider themselves Ainu want ethnic-based fishing rights, which such rights would give them an advantage in the very competitive fishing market. But allowing such companies special privileges would engender a lot of friction between them and other companies.
Since Japan is party to a number of international agreements regarding fishing, it cannot allow Ainu companies to directly negotiate with, say, Russia, for special fishing permits or quotas.
If Ainu-related fishing companies are having difficulties as small businesses, they have recourse to small-business incentives available to all small businesses.
Or is Diene talking about personal rather than commercial limits on salmon fishing? Is he arguing that Japanese of Ainu descent, who live along a coast or river where they might be able to catch migrating salmon, be allowed to take more than other Japanese, because they consider themselves Ainu?
The main consequence of granting ethnic-based fishing privileges would be an increase in the count of Japanese who claim to be Ainu -- and fewer salmon.
46. On the identity side, the Japanese have built a number of prejudices to justify the historical oppression of the Ainu, spreading the idea that they were not intelligent, had a barbaric culture, and had a different appearance. These prejudices continue to be used to denigrate them and make them ashamed of their origins. However, after the adoption of the 1997 law, many of them are regaining their pride in being Ainu.
Diene's betrays his racialization of "Japanese" in his expression "the Japanese".
He might argue that he was speaking of "the Japanese" and "the Ainu" historically. The problem is, he does not -- anywhere in his report -- clearly refer to Ainu people in Japan as "Japanese".
In several instances unrelated to "the Ainu" he racializes "the Japanese" and otherwise suggests that he may not fully understand that "Japanese" is a civil status, not a race or ethnicity.
It is undoubtedly easier -- even fashionable -- for Japanese to claim that they are of Ainu descent. But are those who are now styling themselves as "Ainu" examples of people who are "regaining pride"? Did such people ever have such pride to begin with? Pride, by definition, is not something one easily loses. Perhaps the whole problem of "identity" is more complex than Diene lets on.
Ainu women, they want more space in the Ainu Association, out of
the 20 members of the association, only one is a woman. An association of Ainu women was
created, and is composed of 10 women.
This association promotes the idea that education should start in the
family, debates the role of mothers in education and discusses the
discrimination women have faced during generations within the family. Many women explained that, in
Diene has argued that Ainu should have special fishing rights because salmon are "their ancestral traditional food". Now he wants Ainu men to give up their traditional attitudes toward women.
If Ainu should accommodate nontraditional attitudes toward Ainu women, why shouldn't Ainu accommodate nontraditional attitudes toward fishing?
Ainu community believes that the solution to their discrimination mainly lies
in education: many Japanese on the
main island do not know anything about Ainu history, or even that the Ainu
exist, or they think the Ainu are foreigners. The Ainu need their true history and
culture to be taught as part of the culture and history of
Education is a key part of the solution to most problems -- once the nature of the problem is well understood.
Diene states "The Ainu need their true history and culture to be taught as part of the culture and history of Japan." But who decides what "their true history and culture" is?
It is highly unlikely that there is a "true history and culture" of anything. Certainly there is no such thing among self-styled Ainu, who disagree among each other as to how to teach "the reality" about "their" culture and history in schools.
As a matter of fact, "Ainu history and culture" is fairly well taught in Hokkaido. And it is fair to say that most people living elsewhere in Japan know that Ainu are "indigenous people" and not foreigners.
It is not an exaggeration to say that practically all bookstores in Japan have a book or two, if not several books, about Ainu history, culture, religion, and language.
"count to 10"
How many people think that Ainu children can only count to ten? How many teachers say such things in class?
Does Diene realize that, when he cites such anecdotes in a public report, he invites misunderstanding on the part of readers who know nothing about Japan are are willing to take his word at face value?
49. Another solution lies in the recognition of the Ainu as indigenous peoples. The 1997 law is not considered to be sufficient since it is only on the promotion of culture. The Ainu want to see included in this law the recognition of their status as indigenous peoples, the promotion of their indigenous rights in conformity with international law, and the fight against the discrimination they face. However, the Government has not acceded to this request. In this context, they mentioned that in 1997, in the case of the Nibutani dam built in an expropriated sacred Ainu land, the Sapporo District Court recognized the indigenous nature of the Ainu. They are among the few indigenous peoples in the world who have no land recognized as their indigenous land.
As remarked in the comments on Paragraphs 4 and 6, the claim that Ainu constitute an "indigenous people" is problematic because practically all Japanese are ancestrally "indigenous" to Japan -- by any reasonable definition of the word.
There is room to argue that communities like Nibutani could be extended to include the watersheds and waterways that are arguably an integral part of the settlement.
Given the manner in which the dam was justified -- to meet demand for electric power and water for drinking, agriculture, and industry -- arguments that it should not have been built because the area is sacred to Ainu people do not carry a lot of political punch.
Would national recognition of Ainu as "indigenous peoples" have given Nibutani the leverage it needed to preserve the Saru river in its natural state for the benefit of Ainu who regard it as sacred? Not necessarily. For it would have taken many years just to come to an agreement that certain parts of Hokkaido ought to be either returned to Ainu, or set aside as a natural parkland.
Diene may not have noticed that the United Nations proclaimed 1993 as the International Year of the World's Indigenous People, and the decade beginning from late 1994 as the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.
The UN decided upon "indigenous people" (senjumin) rather than "indigenous peoples" (senju minzoku) -- because the later racialized people in ways that would meet with resistance in countries that had no provisions for recognizing what the Peoples Republic of China, for example, calls "minority nationalities" (shosu minzoku).
Japan has no legal provision for creating an ethnic "Ainu nation" within its presently non-ethnic "Japanese nation". Presently, ethnicity is a private matter. And because people are free to associate however they wish, people Japanese of self-styled Ainu identity can form and join organizations like Hokkaido Utari Kyokai, and have a significant political say in communities like Nibutani.
50. Finally, the Ainu are absent in the national political sphere: there was only one Ainu parliamentarian in the past, whom the Special Rapporteur has met, and none at present. The Ainu have requested a quota of parliamentarians reserved for the Ainu community.
Why should Ainu -- and not, say, women, taxi drivers, or figure skaters -- be guaranteed a seat in the national Diet?
Any Japanese of Ainu identity is free to run in any number of constituencies that would, if elected, result in becoming a member of the Diet.
Kayano Shigeru became a House of Councilors representative because he was Japanese, not because he was Ainu. He was not directly elected. In 1992 he ran for in the proportional representation constituency but was runner up. He became a Diet member in 1994 when the man who beat him died in office. He served out the term into 1998 but chose not to run again.
Kayano would not have appreciated Diene's opposition of "the Japanese" and "the Ainu". He consider himself Japanese and usually speaks of "Ainu" and "Wajin" (Yamato people) as ethnic varieties of Japanese -- itself a raceless nationality.
C. The people
Who exactly are "the people of Okinawa" and how did "they" explain matters concerning "their island and its future" to Diene?
As remarked in the comments on Paragraphs 6 and 27, the military base issues that affect Okinawa prefecture are beyond the scope of Diene's agenda. The sorts of noise problems he describes are experienced by everyone who lives near a military airbase or civilian airport.
52. Between 1972 and 2005, there were 338 plane crashes on the island. In particular, in a case of a helicopter crash on a university campus, the aid workers and police were driven out, the prefecture could not participate in the investigations and the victims received no compensation. Many people on the island fear crashes. Also, several cases of women being raped and killed by American military officers have occurred, as well as of young schoolgirls being sexually harassed. On those occasions, the Government said it would take appropriate measures, but thereafter nothing was done.
Again, Diene is stepping into issues that have nothing to do with his "contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" mandate. As a UN official, he is arguably guilty of interfering with Japan's domestic affairs.
a consequence, some of the people of
How many are the "some" who want Okinawa to be an "independent territory"? A handful of people who meet in back rooms, or a sizable movement with visible support?
D. The Koreans
his visit to the Utoro district, the Special Rapporteur had the opportunity to
witness concretely the conditions in which a Korean community lives today, one
which was placed by the Government of Japan on this piece of land during the Second
World War, in order to build a military airport. When the war ended, the project of
building the airport was abandoned, and the Koreans who were working there, far
from receiving war reparations, were forgotten and left in that land without
work, resources, protection or legal status. The sanitary conditions of Utoro are
deplorable: a considerable number
of the families have no running water, and the district has no channels to
evacuate water, which often provokes floods. There are no sewage pipes, but an
open-air sewer whose level often rises because a neighbouring canal managed by
the city of
The situation in the Utoro [Utoguchi] area of Isedacho in Uji city, Kyoto prefecture is both bizarre and exceptional. By no stretch of the imagination does it represent the lives or attitudes of Category 1 and 2 Koreans in Japan.
Residents versus landowner conflict
Practically every municipality in Japan has at some time become a stage for a drama between residents and landowners who want to evict the residents in order to redevelop the land. The only reason the Utoro case has gotten as much attention as Diene has give it is because the holdouts are mostly Koreans.
All mass eviction incidents have the potential of attract sympathy. Given its peculiar history, Utoro residents possibly deserve more sympathy than residents in other eviction confrontations. However, there is more to the Utoro incident than meets the eye.
Background highly politicized
In the background of the Utoro incident are two very important political developments.
The plain and simple legal facts are:
55. Many of the inhabitants have spent more than 60 years in Utoro, have suffered and continue to suffer from these very precarious conditions of life, but are profoundly attached to their land as their only identity, memory and emotional link. However, they are now under the threat of expulsion. After the war, the land continued to be owned by the contractor (the present Nissan Shatai Corporation), but in 1987 it was sold without notice to the dwellers to a real estate agent, who requested the residents to immediately evacuate. The Kyoto District Court and the Osaka High Court rejected the arguments of the Utoro dwellers that the land had been occupied illegally. The courts ruled and that they should demolish their houses and leave Utoro. The Supreme Court confirmed the expulsion, failing to recognize any right of the Utoro people on the land where they were brought by the Japanese authorities and where they lived for more than 60 years. In addition, the sentence does not indicate any date for the expulsion, which makes the Utoro people live under an unbearable constant threat of expulsion. The Koreans living in Utoro feel they are the victims first of colonialism and war, thereafter of discrimination and exclusion, and most recently of real estate speculation: their basic rights have been violated for over 60 years.
The purpose of an eviction hearing is to determine the legality of a request for an eviction order. Rulings that recognize the legality of such a request generally allow the parties concerned to determine the day and hour of eviction.
Even when armed with court-issued eviction orders, property owners generally avoid violent confrontation. This is true in the Utoro case as well.
Such confrontations can go on for years. Psychological intimidation is more common than physical force. Police are rarely used to force tenants out of buildings or off land. The idea is to wear out the holdouts spiritually or financially. The strategy usually works.
About 20 of the 80 households that were living in Utoro when the land was sold have since moved. About 60 have stayed. Holdouts number around 200 people out of about 380 original residents.
In about November 1984, Nissan Shatai proposed transferring a tract of land in Utoro, measuring roughly 100 meters by 300 meters, and amounting to about 21,000 square meters (about 640 tsubo) in area, to Hirayama Masuo.
On or about 9 March 1987, the company sold the tract to Hirayama for about 300 million yen. This is reportedly about 1/7th the land's market value at the time. Apparently the land was sold without the knowledge of most of the people who resided in the area.
Two months later, on or about 9 May 1987, Hirayama resold the land for about 445 million yen to Nishinihon Shokusan, a real estate company. The company, of the limited kind, had been established on 30 April, just days before, apparently by Hirayama himself, who is said to be one of its directors. Title to the property was transferred to the real estate company on 12 August.
Around February 1988, rumors spread that the Utoro land had been sold. The majority of Utoro residents learned of the sale around July. Residents initiated talks with Nissan Shatai and asked it to intervene on their behalf. In December, Nishinihon Shokusan mailed residents eviction notices.
In February 1989 the real estate company sued 69 families, asking the court to order the buildings demolished and the land vacated. Hearings began in March.
In January 1998, the Kyoto District Court ruled in favor of the real Nishinihon Shokusan. The residents appealed, but in December the same year the Osaka High Court issued a similar ruling. Again the residents appealed, but in June 2000 the Supreme Court dismissed their appeal and confirmed the eviction order.
As is common in such cases, the real estate company did not immediately attempt to evict the holdouts. Landowners typically give plenty of time for residents to comply with eviction orders.
Utoro holdouts and their supporters set out to make the eviction case a national and international issue. They succeeded. The got delegations from the Republic of Korea to visit Utoro, then to lobby on behalf of Utoro residents and collect funds to purchase the land.
Utoro residents also got support from IMADR through BLL. It is mainly because of IMADR lobbying that Diene came to Japan. And IMADR influenced his itinerary, including his visit to Utoro.
By the time Diene visited Utoro in July 2005, the holdouts were hoping that interested parties, including supporters in ROK, would buy the property with the intent of preserving it as a relic of the past and improve it as a place for them to continue living.
Things heat up again after Diene's visit
On 22 August 2005, an order was issued to demolish a vacant building on a lot recorded in the name of Inoue Masami. On 30 August 2005, a notice was posted informing Utoro residents that the building would be demolished on 27 September. Residents appealed, and on 22 September the Kyoto District Court informed Utoro residents that the demolition had been temporarily stayed.
On 9 November the present owner (apparently Inoue) lost a title dispute in the Osaka High Court and appealed on 18 November. So again the battleground has moved to the Supreme Court.
Rumors of Korean versus Korean dispute
Life in Utoro has certainly not been very pleasant these past two decades. But the Utoro problem is not really one of discrimination against Koreans.
Hirayama was apparently a resident of Utoro at the time he bought the land. He was also apparently the head of its neighborhood association and was serving as a negotiator between its residents and Nissan Shatai.
Internet rumor mongers claim that Hirayama Masuo is the "Japanese name" of a Korean called Kyo. Or if he himself is not Kyo, then a man named Kyo facilitated the sale of land. Kyo is said to have disappeared when the hearings began.
Utoro holdouts claim that Hirayama misrepresented himself to Nissan Shatai. Some want him arrested and tried for fraud.
Inoue Masami is said to reside in Osaka, and is rumored to be either a Korean or a Japanese of Korean ancestry.
Those who dispute the "victimhood" claims of Utoro residents insist their problems result from betrayal and conflict within their own Korean ranks.
problem of the Korean minority in general is the lack of access to pension
rights. Koreans of the first
generation who came to
Holes in pension laws have affected many people, not just older Koreans and other foreigners. While Diene's heart is in the right place, the issue should not be presented as though it were peculiar to older Koreans, or to former nationality restrictions.
to the situation of the education of minorities in Japan, and in particular of
its Korean minority, since Japanfs surrender in 1945 Koreans have created a
number of Korean schools in Japan to preserve their national identity and
enable the young generations to be familiar with their language, history and
culture. The Special Rapporteur
visited a Korean secondary school in the
What sort of "Korean secondary school" did Diene visit? Was it one that has been affiliated with ROK or DPRK? Or one that remains neutral with regard to peninsula politics?
What, in any case, does Diene mean by "national identity"? Does he mean ROK versus DPRK political orientation? Or does he mean "ethnic identity?"
Purpose of education
Even Japanese graduates of unaccredited Korean high schools have not been allowed to sit for college entrance examples. It is not a matter of nationality but a question of whether one has graduated from an accredited school.
Any school can be accredited if it meets the governments standards for curriculum and facilities. Most so-called "Korean schools" in Japan have failed to be accredited because they have been affiliated with DPRK and have insisted on following DPRK standards.
Of course it is silly to restrict admission to entrance exams, since examinees will pass or not depending on their individual ability. However, the restriction to graduates of accredited high schools effects everyone.
Graduates of unaccredited high schools have been treated the same way as people who graduated only from middle school, or who attended high school but dropped out before graduating. All such people have been required to pass high school equivalency exams before sitting for college exams.
In point of fact, some graduates of unaccredited Korean high schools have found that studying for high school equivalency exams has increased their chances of passing college entrance exams, since they were exposed to subjects not covered in the Korean schools.
The Japanese government does not fund unaccredited schools because such schools don't meet its standards. In any event, why should the government of Japan fund an ideological "Korean school" that teaches students an anti-Japanese view of history?
DPRK has been more interested than ROK in funding the maintenance of "Korean ethnicity" in Japan. When Koreans in Japan were beginning to establish "ethnic schools" (minzoku gakko), DPRK invested far more than ROK in the building of schools that instilled in children its communist view of the world, and taught them to admire if not worship Kim Il Song and then Kim Jong Il as ethnic heroes.
58. While some situations of discrimination against Korean children have recently been solved, for example concerning their right to participate in school sports federations, violence against Korean schoolchildren continues to increase. Some children suffer insults or are physically abused simply because they are Koreans. But the most serious expression concerns girls wearing national Korean dresses, who have had their clothes ripped or cut in public places during daytime. Children are now scared of showing their identity or of wearing their traditional dress.
As remarked in the comments on Paragraph 30, Diene fails to support his claim that Korean children in Japan suffer more harassment or bullying than other cohorts. He cites only isolated cases that have been sensationalized in the media and are now showcased by advocacy organizations as examples of how badly Korean children are treated.
59. Finally, concerning the most shameful form of discrimination endured by the Koreans - the system of sexual slavery of Korean women put at the disposal of the Japanese military during the Second World War - only in 1991 did the Government of Japan recognize its responsibility in the establishment of this system. However, issues such as official apology, compensation and proper education about this tragic historical episode known as gcomfort womenh have still not been settled. The Special Rapporteur was even informed that, starting from next year, school textbooks will not include any reference to the gcomfort womenh.
Fortunately neither "the Koreans" nor "Korean women" endured "a system of sexual slavery . . . at the disposal of the Japanese military". Some Japanese women of all subnationalities -- Korean, Taiwanese, and prefectural (including Okinawan) were inducted, some by apparently by force, into sexual service corps -- as were some women (including a few Dutch women) in Southeast Asian countries occupied by Japanese forces.
Korean, Taiwanese, and prefectural subnationals (minseki) were all Japanese (kokuseki) at the time. Korean and Taiwanese subnationals subsequently lost their Japanese nationality. Prefectural subnationals are today still Japanese.
Who told Diene that textbooks will no longer include any reference to so-called "comfort women"? Some have, some haven't. Some will, some won't.
Why, in any event, is Diene even talking about "comfort women" in this report? Surely it is beyond the scope of his mandate.
E. Foreigners and migrant workers
60. The foreign communities concerned and a number of Japanese human rights NGOs reported that public authorities do not take appropriate measures to fight against xenophobia and discrimination against foreigners. On the contrary, they play a role in encouraging such discrimination. Discriminatory statements against foreigners are made by some public officials. The police disseminate posters and flyers in which foreigners are assimilated to thieves. Posters by extreme right political organizations asking for the expulsion of foreigners are tolerated. The National Police Agencyfs press releases exaggerate the role of foreigners in criminal offences by mentioning that crimes by foreigners were worsening, or widespread, spreading thus the wrong impression that foreigners are responsible for the countryfs security problems, when in reality in 2003 the proportion of criminal offences committed by foreigners was only 2.3 per cent.
Diene has been shown a few "posters and flyers in which foreigners are assimilated to thieves" -- but they have been exceptional.
The National Police Agency is guilty of innumeracy in the manner in which it reports all statistics. Incident counts are given more play in the media than incidence rates -- which require a more sophisticated analysis.
Of course crimes by foreigners have increased, because the number of foreigners has increased -- by tens of thousands every year. And naturally there will be more crimes involving violence, since most of the new arrivals are men in the 20s and 30s. In all countries, most heinous crimes are committed by men in these age groups.
Diene reports that "in 2003 the proportion of criminal offences committed by foreigners was only 2.3 per cent". In Paragraph 2 He stated that "foreigners . . . do not represent more than 1.55 per cent of the population".
Diene's own figures suggest there is more foreign crime in Japan.
61. In February 2004, the Immigration Bureau of Japan created an e-mail reporting system on its website inviting citizens to anonymously inform on any gsuspected illegal migranth. Since citizens cannot enquire on the nationality of a person, the only way they can suspect that a person could be an illegal migrant is by their gforeign appearanceh, on the basis of racial or linguistic characteristics: this system is a direct incitement to racial profiling and xenophobia.
Again, Diene misleads and exaggerates.
The Immigration Bureau website notice did not instruct people to judge anyone on the basis of "foreign appearance". It didn't need to, because people will do this as a matter of course.
The vast majority of people in any country will judge nationality on the basis of "racial or linguistic characteristics". However, one has to assume that civil-minded people will not limit themselves to racialist first impressions. In Japan, too, the vast majority of people will allow second and third intakes of information to modify their first impressions.
In any event, racial and other forms of profiling are valid methods of first-level screening. Police routinely post notices requesting people to be on the lookout for suspicious characters of certain descriptions, sometimes with photographs, sometimes just sketches or vague descriptions. Now and then someone reports seeing a person on a wanted poster who turns out to be someone else.
worryingly, elected public officials make xenophobic and racial statements against
foreigners in total impunity, and affected groups cannot denounce such
statements. For example, the
Governor of Tokyo declared in 2000 that in
Such things happens in all societies. Someone with a quick tongue says something that offends someone.
Governor of Tokyo
Now we know why Diene wanted an audience with the infamous Ishihara Shintaro. Unfortunately, Diene doesn't understand how Ishihara's brain works.
Ishihara is both a novelist and a provocateur. Yes, he is a bit conservative. No, he is not xenophobic. He often speaks in colorful metaphors. He sometimes tries to be more clever or humorous than the occasion warrants.
Japan is a free society. No government, in any free society, should react to the sort of statements made by Ishihara. People who are offended by what he said -- and I do not particularly like what he said -- have the right to protest. And he, as a public official, has the responsibility to explain himself.
That's all there is to it. Diene is targeting Ishihara because he has read or heard Ishihara's name dropped by every journalist and publicist who needs to feed the world with propaganda about Japan's alleged "xenophobia" and "racism".
Diene, like others who negatively react to Ishihara, should listen to what Ishihara says, rather than dwell on the often colorful and sometimes controversial ways he says things.
serious manifestation of racial discrimination is the problem of private and
quasi-public establishments refusing entrance to people based on nationality or
race. According to allegations
received by the Special Rapporteur, several establishments prohibit entrance to
foreigners or even Japanese nationals who are not racially Japanese such as in
the Hokkaido, Okinawa, Shizouoka prefectures and in the city of Tokyo. For example, in
As stated in the preface to this counter report, Japan does need a law that prohibits unacceptable racial discrimination. And I personally feel that the sort of discrimination alleged to have taken place in the Hokkaido bath establishment is unacceptable.
Certainly a business that opens its doors to the public, and is not a private club, should not be allowed to post any signs that bar, or verbally turn away, anyone because of their putative race.
However, I also feel that litigation may be an ineffective if not unreasonable means of dealing with such discrimination. Especially in the bath establishment case, the proprietor is due a certain amount of understanding.
The plaintiff might have been less eager to go to court, and more patient with the process of working with the city, and even with the proprietor, to solve the sorts of problems that appear to have moved the proprietor to bar foreigners, or anyone who on first impression would appear to be a foreigner.
Diene might also have disclosed that, while in Japan, he fraternized with the plaintiff, Arudou Debito, an activist who wants Japan to pass a strong anti-racial discrimination law. While Diene was in Japan, Arudou used his own website and other means to help publicize Diene's mission to expose Japan to international criticism.
Since Japan is a free society, Arudou and Diene are perfectly free to associate with each other. However, Diene should disclose the fact that his "Mission to Japan" has been guided by activists like Arudou and reflects their viewpoints.
Arudou has made some credible contributions to the elimination of racial discrimination in Japan. However, some perceive his approach as too confrontational and even intimidating in a society that does not wish to become as dependent on litigation to resolve conflict as, say, the United States.
Similar cases exist throughout
Diene writes that "Similar cases exist throughout Japan, where racial discrimination is practised undisturbed". This statement is both misleading and incorrect.
"Similar cases exist throughout Japan"
Japan is a large country with a huge population. How many cases is Diene talking about? Where have they occurred?
Is the rate or extent of occurrence such as to think that Japan has an alarming problem of "racial discrimination"?
Doesn't the case that Diene reported in Paragraph 63 constitute an example of someone disturbing racial discrimination?
To say that "racial discrimination is practised undisturbed" in Japan is a grave insult to the people of Japan, where over the decades, even centuries, a number of people have "disturbed" racial discrimination.
Yes, having a national law that prohibited public businesses from baring people because of their putative race, would have given Otaru authorities -- not necessarily a prosecutor -- the means of warning, or penalizing, the bath proprietor. Moreover, such a law would enable authorities to take action before any actual commitment of discrimination.
This being said, however, individuals who are treated in what they consider a discriminatory manner are free to report such treatment to concerned authorities -- and, if they feel strongly wronged, they are free to seek mediation, including litigation in a court of law.
65. The Special Rapporteur was briefed about a case of a golf club refusing membership to foreigners in which the court ruled that such a refusal was acceptable: according to the court, prohibition of racial discrimination included in the Constitution as well as in international conventions does not apply private entities. In such circumstances, it can hardly be argued that Japan is respecting its international obligations by gappropriate meansh according to the language of article 2, paragraph 1, of CERD: it appears that the Japanese system is not one in which discriminatory acts can effectively be restrained by the existing legal system.
Diene is clearly overstepping his mandate as an observer and reporter. Whether Japan is obligated under ICERD (not CERD) to include "private entities" as venues where "racial discrimination" must be eliminated by "appropriate means" is open to judicial interpretation of ICERD.
existing system works
Diene suggests that the existing system does not effectively restrain discrimination. However, any anti-racial discrimination legislation in Japan would have to recognize, and appreciate, how the present system has in fact been restraining discrimination.
When examples of racial and other pretexts for prejudice come to the attention of the press, there is always a favorable and corrective response. One does not need to empower prosecutors with laws to effectively reduce discrimination.
Anyone who has lived in Japan for the past several decades, as a person who is at risk in being treated differently on account of how they are perceived in the mainstream, will testify that the risk of incurring such unwanted treatment is notably less -- and the risk continues to fall without special laws.
If Diene had watched television in Japan 30 and 40 years years, and watched television today, he would observe just how much Japan has adjusted to the presence of all kinds of minorities -- racial, ethnic, medical, occupation, sexual, whatever. Without heavy-handed laws.
and especially Koreans who were born in
Here Diene is showing his own racialist colors.
"Foreigners . . . who . . . have Japanese nationality"
Koreans are Koreans because they have Korean nationality. Japanese are Japanese because they have Japanese nationality. If one is a Korean in Japan, then one is a foreigner.
Koreans who gain Japanese nationality become Japanese. Even should such persons somehow manage to retain their Korean nationality (possible but unlikely), in Japan they are Japanese, not Korean.
Why "especially Koreans"? Does Diene intend to discriminate against other foreigners who are born in Japan?
Special Rapporteur was also informed that the majority of the foreigners
Since the vast majority of foreigners in Japan are not permanent residents, they have yet to establish Japan as the place where they in tend to live permanent. Why should they have job security -- when many Japanese do not have job security?
Foreigners who overstay their visas become illegal aliens. They invite arrest, detention, and deportation.
Foreigners with a visa permitting them to work in Japan for a year or more, who are properly registered in the municipality where they reside, and who are not covered by a health plan through their place of employment, can enroll in National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken) at their municipal hall.
F. Discriminatory messages on the Internet
the light of the spread of discriminatory messages on the Internet, the
Yes, the Internet is a lawless zone where all manner of expression takes place without much monitoring or censorship. Perhaps this is how it should be in a free society. Leave the nuts alone and they will crack only themselves.
Japan has had bad experiences with thought police in the past. And BLL is still feared because of its history of intimidating "word hunts".
The best way to minimize discrimination is through education of such quality that nurtures tolerance and civility in the vast majority of the population. And tolerance and civility begin with tolerating, and being civil to, those who are intolerant and uncivil.
IV. ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR
69. After having collected and analysed the views of all parties concerned, the Special Rapporteur reached the conclusion that racial discrimination and xenophobia do exist in Japan, and that these affect three circles of discriminated groups: the national minorities - the Buraku people, the Ainu and the people of Okinawa; people from and descendants of people from former Japanese colonies - Korea and China; and foreigners and migrants from other Asian countries and from the rest of the world.
Yes. Race discrimination exists everywhere. Water is wet. The sky is blue except when it is grey.
I see nothing in Diene's report that "xenophobia" is an appropriate characterization of Japan.
"three circles of discriminated groups"
The "three circles" statement at the start of the "Analysis" here is practically the same as the one in the "Summary" at the beginning of the report.
Diene's "groups" are not truly groups. His circles are small because they reflect only the narrow concerns of the advocacy organizations that steered his investigation and report. His terminology is also very confusing and even racialist.
What does Diene mean by "national minorities"? Does he mean that "the Buraku people, the Ainu and the people of Okinawa" are Japanese minorities -- i.e., minorities within Japan's nationality? Or does he mean that they are "ethnic" or "racial" minorities within Japanese nationality?
The term "national minorities" is used by PRC and a few other states to legally describe "minority nationalities" -- i.e., "minority races" (C. shao3shu4 min2zu2, J. shosu minzoku) -- within their nationalities. But but there are no "national minorities" within Japanese nationality. Japan, like most states, is a mononational state.
Even were Japan to define "national minorities" within its nationality, "the Buraku people" would not be one of them, for there is nothing "racial" or "ethnic" about buraku residents.
Assuming that people who reside in former outcaste areas qualify as a minority (and I am of the opinion that they do not) -- they would have to be called a "residential minority" -- meaning that they risk discrimination based on their place of residence.
Japanese who style themselves as "Ainu" or "Okinawan" on account of their putative ethnicity would be "ethnic minorities".
"people from and the descendants of people from former Japanese colonies -- Korea and China"
If Diene really means "descendants" -- then he needs to discuss hundreds of thousands (probably over one million) Japanese of recent Korean and Chinese descent -- apart from Koreans and Chinese. In other words, there are more Japanese of recent Korean and Chinese descent than there are Koreans and Chinese.
Korea was part of Japan from 1910 to 1945. And some people refer to Korea's status during this period as a "colony" of Japan. But China was never part of Japan. Even between 1895 and 1945, when Taiwan was a part of Japan, Chinese in the prefectures outnumbered Taiwanese Japanese in the prefectures.
After 1945, when Taiwan again became part of China, Japanese with Taiwan registers lost their Japanese nationality and became Chinese -- with registers in Taiwan, as opposed to Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and other provinces of ROC and later PRC. And postwar alien registration figures show that the majority of Chinese in Japan have not been affiliated with Taiwan, and hence it is inappropriate to minoritize Chinese in Japan as "people from and the descendants of people from" a former colony.
If one takes Diene's "people from and the descendants of people from" phrasing at face value -- then practically every Korean now alive in the world -- and every one in the world with an ancestral connection to Taiwan (not all of China) before August 1945 -- would qualify as a minority in Japan.
What Diene should have said is that all foreigners with special permanent residence status -- mostly Koreans and Taiwanese to be sure, but also some Americans, Filipinos, Brazilians, Peruvians, and others -- qualify as "foreign minorities" -- since a number of Japanese laws exceptionalize as aliens related to people who lost their Japanese nationality in accordance with a treaty of peace.
In Diene's colonial geography, "Taiwan" becomes "China" while Karafuto goes unmentioned. Was it not also a "colony" like Taiwan and Korea? Do former Karafutoans not count in Diene's history of colonial victimhood?
And what about the rapidly increasing numbers of racially and ethnically mixed people of all nationalities in Japan -- including dual nationals and stateless people -- who experience discrimination within their multiple national, racial, and ethnic cohorts? Or does Diene only advocate "groups" defined by the advocacy organizations that guided his mission to Japan?
70. The Special Rapporteur noticed that the manifestations of such racial discrimination and xenophobia are manifold. First of all, they are of a social and economic nature. All surveys and indicators point to the fact that minorities live in a situation of marginalization and economic and social vulnerability, in the fields of employment, housing, marriage, pensions, health and education. Such inequalities vis-à-vis the rest of the Japanese society should urgently be addressed.
Again, the insinuation that Japan is a hotbed of "racial discrimination and xenophobia" is unfounded.
Practically all minorities in Japan, even short-term visa aliens, are more-or-less mainstreamed in Japanese society. They live wherever they need to live to accommodate their work or study or family life. In this respect, most minorities are in no sense "marginalized".
Only short-term visa aliens and other nonpermanent aliens face inequities in such matters as national health and pension plans, and limitations on employment and bank loans. who are not as free as other minorities in Japan to work and change employment.
There are no inequities in marriage. Marriage is a private matter, and anyone of age, who is legally free to marry, can marry.
Permanent residents are free to seek any job for which they are qualified, except those that require Japanese nationality.
71. Secondly, the discrimination is also of a political nature. The Special Rapporteur noticed the invisibility of the national minorities in State institutions, in particular the Parliament and the Government. For example, the Ainu have only had one congressman in the national Parliament, whom the Special Rapporteur met, but have none at present. Such invisibility shows the depth of exclusion, and increases the sense of discrimination and marginalization of the communities concerned, who are given no opportunity to participate in the managing of their present and future affairs.
Why does Diene expect "national minorities" to be "visible" in state institutions? Can't they be "invisible"?
Japan prefers not to racialize its nationality. All Japanese possess the same quality of civil nationality, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Japanese who style themselves as ethnically "Ainu" or "Okinawan" are as free as other Japanese to participate in local and national politics.
the most profound manifestations are of a cultural and historical nature. This type of discrimination affects
principally the national minorities, but also descendents of former Japanese
colonies. The fundamental sources
of these discriminations are the identity construction of
"the Buraku people"
Diene's characterization of "the historical origin" of discrimination against buraku residents as "linked to the division of labour in the feudal era" is straight from BLL's highly disputed analysis of the evolution of outcaste status in Japan before the Meiji period.
"the Korean and Chinese communities"
Diene seems to feel that only Japanese history textbooks have problems. Whose view of the history of Japan's relations with Korea and China does Diene propose be taught in school?
How does the teaching of history about an given "episode" of Japan's history have any bearing on how Koreans and Chinese are treated in Japan today? How would teaching the highly self-serving PRC, ROK, and DPRK versions of history improve the lives of Japan-born Koreans and Chinese, most of whom live in the mainstream of Japanese society without problems?
"Hating the Korean wave"
Diene refers to two books called "Hating the Korean wave" and "Introduction to China". He claims they "mention that 'there is nothing at all in Korean culture to be proud of' and portray Chinese as obsessed with cannibalism and prostitution."
He is citing an article called "Ugly Images of Asian Rivals Become Best Sellers in Japan", written by Norimitsu Onishi and published in The New York Times on 19 November 2005, after he had left Japan.
"Hating the Korean wave" is Onishi's translation of "Ken Kanryu" -- a phrase that appears in the titles of two comics and several related and other books. Did Diene ever see, much less read, such books? Not likely.
Such books exist in Japan because the country tolerates freedom of expression. Their existence also reflects the surfacing of a lively debate between people who regard history as a closed book, and those who feel that history should always be amenable to revision in the light of new information and insights.
In nothing else, such books suggest that ideologically popular histories of Japan's relations with the Korean peninsula have tended to publicize the often exaggerated and sometimes erroneous claims of alleged victims and their descendants.
73. In the following section, the Special Rapporteur submits to the Government a number of recommendations relating to its political and legal strategy, but also underlines the need for an intellectual and ethical strategy to eradicate the deeper roots of the culture and mentality of discrimination and xenophobia in Japanese society.
Government, at the highest levels, should officially and publicly recognize the
existence of racial discrimination and xenophobia in Japanese society. It should be done by conducting a survey
to find out the present conditions of each discriminated group in
At at we see what Diene's report is aiming at.
Note the "ism". It is not without significance.
The "ism" of "multiculturalism" designates an approach to nurturing and managing thought through minoritizing and racializing people -- as though people were products, and therefore properties, of politically determined "ethnic communities" or "cultures".
"Multiculturalism" is one of the most dehumanizing ideologies to appear in many decades. It has, in the United States, created a climate of "identity politics" that has already eroded some fundamental freedoms of thought and expression -- in the name of minority/majority politics.
Japan has been sending "messages" about racial equality to the world since the Meiji period. Arguably some of the earlier messages were self-serving, in the sense that they were based on conceptions of Japan as an embodiment (kokutai) of the Yamato race (Yamato minzoku).
Still, Japan has been one of the major countries in the world to resist racialization of its laws. Japan's nationality law, in force in different versions sine 1899, has never discrimination racially or ethnically. As a result, Japanese nationality remains a purely civil status.
No Japanese laws have discriminated against people because of their race or ethnicity. Nationality as a civil status, yes -- but not race or ethnicity.
As I have written elsewhere, in a critique of Japan's reports to CERD in connection with ICERD, the government's arguments are both lame and perverse -- but its heart is in the rights place. Japanese laws do not permit the racialization of Japanese nationality, which has always been a purely civil status.
While the Japanese government needs to improve the credibility of its own arguments vis-a-vis pressure from CERD to racialize its laws and policies -- the only "message" Japan should give the world is to resist the wave or racialization that is sweeping the world in the name of "multiculturalism".
75. The Government should strongly condemn and oppose to any statement by public officials which tolerates or even encourages racial discrimination and xenophobia, in accordance with article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by Japan, and in particular its paragraph (c), which provides that States gshall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discriminationh, and in accordance with article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, also ratified by Japan, which prohibits gany advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violenceh.
What "public officials" in Japan have said anything which "tolerates or even encourages racial discrimination and xenophobia"? Is Diene referring to the remarks he attributed to Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro (Paragraph 62)?
Ishihara's remarks were reported in mass media. And he was rebuked by critics who felt that what he said was inappropriate. This is how things work in a society like Japan, which values freedom of expression and democratic process.
The "Government" consists of politicians (elected officials) and bureaucrats (career civil servants). Both are subject to official censure for saying something judged to be either contrary to law or policy, or libelous, unethical, or otherwise unbecoming of one's position.
In any event, the "Government" is not a thought police. Moreover, it is not within the scope of the authority of the national government to censure the sort of remarks that Diene attributed to Ishihara, a prefectural governor.
Government and the parliament (Diet) should as a matter of urgency proceed to
the adoption of a national law against racism, discrimination and xenophobia,
giving effect into its domestic legal order to the provisions of its
Constitution and of the international instruments to which Japan is a party,
which include the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Such a domestic law should:
- Penalize racial discrimination in all its forms, and specifically discrimination in the field of employment, housing and marriage, and guarantee access to effective protection and remedies, including compensation, to victims;
- Declare an offence all propaganda and all organizations which are based on racial superiority or hatred and promote or incite racial discrimination, as provided for in article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur shares the view of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination that the reservation made by Japan to article 4 (a) and (b) of the Convention is in conflict with Japanfs obligations under article 4, which is of a mandatory nature, and that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority and hatred is compatible with the rights to freedom of opinion and expression. Therefore, the inclusion in the domestic legal system of a prohibition of all propaganda and all organizations which promote or incite racial discrimination cannot validly be avoided by invoking the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.
The communities concerned should be consulted and should participate in the process of elaboration of this law.
Yes, Japan needs a an anti-racial discrimination law.
Yes, such a law should forbid all kinds of racial discrimination.
The consequences of such an anti-racial discrimination law would be as follows.
legal provisions should be adopted that prohibit any lists and enquiries as to
the origins of a person which could be used to discriminate against a person in
relation to recruitment, renting or selling of an accommodation or the exercise
of any other right of that person.
Since "buraku discrimination" is not racial, solutions to remaining issues concerning dowa areas are beyond the scope of a law prohibiting racial discrimination.
78. Concerning the draft human rights bill, the Special Rapporteur considers that it needs to include a clear ban of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. He reiterates the urgency of adopting such provisions and urges the Diet to proceed without delay, as a matter of priority, to the discussion and adoption of such a law.
There is absolutely no urgency to draft such a bill. The whole question of "human rights" is highly politicized -- and the United Nations has contributed to the global politicization -- and even polarization -- of human rights issues.
Human rights have been discussed and debated in Japan for over a century. Slowly but surely, appropriate measures have been adopted to define, provision, and protect human rights.
It would be wrong, and dangerous, for Japan to rush into adopting the sort of measures advocated by Diene, and by the advocacy organizations he publicizes, without careful regard for the many issues that have not yet been adequately recognized and understood.
national commission for equality and human rights should be established, in
conformity with the
Yes, a national commission for equality and human rights would be a place to start. But such a commission should not be dominated by the advocacy organizations that guided Diene's "Mission to Japan". The commission should represent all points of view, and not just the ideological views of organizations with vested interests in human rights politics.
For example, if there are BLL representatives on the commission, then there should also be representatives from Zenjinren and other organizations with different views about "buraku" and "dowa area" issues.
commission on equality and human rights should as a matter of urgency draft, in
close consultation with the minorities concerned, and then submit to the
Government a national plan of action to fight against racism, racial
discrimination and xenophobia. The
national plan of action should be based on the
Again, there is no urgency for such a draft.
Drafting reasonable and effective human rights laws and policies in a democracy such as Japan must be allowed whatever time it takes to form workable consensuses. Such consensuses should never be rushed for the sake of expediting the one-sided sort of agenda presented in Diene's "Mission to Japan" report.
Forming a truly representative national commission, empowered with clear and acceptable procedural guidelines, will take time -- many years, possibly another decade or two.
The main obstacle will probably be the more vociferous advocacy organizations, which tend to be hostile toward opposing views, and have not in the past shown their willingness to collaborate and compromise with opposition organizations. Witness how well BLL "communicates" with its arch rivals, and how well different "Zainichi" factions get along.
81. The system put in place by the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice urging citizens to report suspected illegal migrants anonymously on its website is an incitement to racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia: it is essentially based on the criminalization of foreigners and promotes a climate of suspicion and rejection towards foreigners. This reporting system should therefore be abolished without delay.
As remarked in comments to Paragraph 61, nothing on the Immigration Bureau's website constitutes an "incitement to racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia".
Government should revise history textbooks in order to better reflect, with
objectivity and accuracy, the history of minorities and the relations with
neighbouring countries. The Special
Rapporteur noticed with concern that the parts of the history books dedicated
to the history of the Buraku people, the Ainu, the people of Okinawa, the
Koreans and the Chinese have been particularly reduced, and therefore urges the
Government to proceed to the revision of such textbooks in order to include a
detailed section on the history and culture of these groups, in the perspective
of the long memory of history, the relations and interactions with the people
and communities concerned, and the origins and reasons of the discrimination to
which they were subjected. Their
important contribution to the construction of the Japanese identity should also
be highlighted. Textbooks should
also include explanations of the crimes linked to the colonial era and wartime
The government of Japan is not in the business of authoring history textbooks. The Ministry of Education merely oversees the process of examining drafts of textbooks to make sure they are as free as possible from errors of fact or interpretation.
Textbooks selected for inclusion on lists of approved texts must conform to minimum standards of accuracy, as judged by review committees. This is the extent of government involvement.
In principle, publishers are allowed to publish any textbook they like, and local school boards are allowed to adopt any textbook they like.
Several history textbook study groups, with scholars from Japan, ROK, PRC and other Asian countries, have been examining how history is taught not only in Japan but other Asian countries. The issues they are discussion are not the sort that fall within the scope of government decisions.
History is not something that can be dictated by governments. By its nature, history is constantly subject to revision as people reinterpret the past in the light of new information and new analytical methods.
The pursuit of historical truth
Having said this, however, I must add that there is urgent need to remove education from the mercenary mentality of the marketplace. In in a democracy of multiple viewpoints, what is taught in schools is necessarily a matter of political process. But democracy is weakened when people avoid informed controversy.
Publishers in Japan are in the habit of dumbing down the content of textbooks, not only in response to government vetting, but also in order to offend as few consumers as possible. The United States has also been witnessing what happens when everything possibly offensive to any and every interest group is omitted from textbooks in order to sell as many copies to as many schools in as many states as possible. The utter non-controversial blandness of many textbooks encourages students to think that it is better to avoid the hard and never-ending work of truth-seeking than risk conflict.
Since market principles are themselves democratic, however, the ultimate censors of textbooks in Japan are not the publishers, but the consumers who buy textbooks -- and by their choice of what they buy accept the publisher's see-hear-speak-no-evil standards.
The consumers of textbooks are not, of course, the students -- who are not allowed to participate in the democratic process that determines the quality of citizens they will become -- apathetic or concerned, intellectually lazy or responsibly critical.
No, the real consumers of textbooks are the local education bureaucrats, teachers, and other adults who decide what students will be taught or not taught. The failure of Japan to digest its past in a more truthful way -- and lead PRC, ROK, and DPRK to take a more truthful view of their own histories -- is really a failure of postwar Japanese democracy.
But historical truth, like happienss, is something to be pursued. And in Japan it is at least possible to pursue the past with more reverence than is now being shown for the truth. So there is hope.
83. The Government should consult with minority groups on policies and legislation to be adopted that concern them.
Since "minority groups" exist only as advocacy organizations, which are political in nature, the consultation process is also political in nature. Hence the need to include in the consultation all advocacy organizations with vested interest in "minority group" politics.
84. The Government is invited to launch a programme of promotion on the culture of discriminated groups: for example, the contribution Buraku work and knowledge gave to society should be recognized and valued, and Buraku cultural specificities disseminated, in order to transform the perception of Buraku people by Japanese society through culture. The creation of cultural centres for minorities in the main Japanese cities would be a very welcome step.
Who has told Diene that "buraku" or "dowa areas" are culturally distinct? All "buraku liberation" and "dowa" organizations, including BLL, agree in their insistence that "buraku residents" are racially, ethnically, culturally, linguistically, religiously, and otherwise no different from Japanese nationals in general.
Under the provisions of an anti-racial discrimination law (see comments on Paragraph 76), it would not be possible to racially or ethnically differentiate self-styled Ainu Japanese from other Japanese.
Diene must make up his mind. Either he wants a law that prohibits racial discrimination, or he wants a law that exceptionalizes some races (such as "Ainu") in order for them to be treated differently from other races.
representation of minorities should be guaranteed in State institutions. The Government should accede to the
request of the Ainu community to have a quota in the Diet for Ainu
representatives. The same could be
envisaged for the people of
As remarked above, exceptionalizing anyone in Japan, because of their putative race or ethnicity, would violate the principles of an anti-racial discrimination law.
87. The Government should facilitate the creation of independent Ainu media, managed by the Ainu and financed by public funds, in order to guarantee effective pluralism in the Japanese media and give the Ainu an additional and truly effective means to promote their culture and identity.
Self-styled Ainu Japanese are free to associate and engage in media businesses. Hokkaido Utari Kyokai and other of, by, and for Ainu organizations exist. They are free to publish newsletters, books, videos, sponsor radio or tv programs, launch magazines or newspapers, whatever.
Many self-styled Ainu Japanese are engaged in cultural promotion, part-time if not vocationally. Bookstores and libraries have all manner of material on Ainu culture. Anyone interested in Ainu culture and go on the Internet and be immediately presented with numerous choices of informative websites.
Government should request the Diet to carry out a thorough investigation on the
issue of whether the continued existence of the
Again, the Okinawa military base issue cannot by any stretch of the imagination be within the scope of Diene's racial discrimination mandate.
Government should adopt all measures required to eliminate differential
treatment between Korean schools and other foreign schools, which can be
considered as racial discrimination.
In particular, Korean schools should be allowed to receive subsidies and
other financial assistance, as well as the recognition of their certificates as
university entrance examination qualifications, on the same footing as other
foreign schools, and even more so taking into account the special historical
circumstances of the Korean presence in
The status of schools that have not met government standards for purposes of accreditation has been a perennial issue.
The accreditation issue is not a racial or ethnic issue. Many kinds of schools -- not only so-called "Korean schools" -- have failed to gain recognition because they have not met Ministry of Education standards for primary and secondary schools, or for colleges and universities.
90. The Government should adopt strong preventive and punitive measures to stop and firmly sanction violent racially motivated acts against Korean children.
"Korean children" do not warrant special attention. All children who are harassed or bullied are equally victims of unacceptable treatment.
All schools that experience incidents of harassment or bullying against any of their students, whatever the circumstances, have to investigate the incidents and take preventive measures.
91. The Government should adopt remedial measures for Koreans who are more than 70 years old and who have no access to pension benefits because of the existence of the nationality clause when they were of working age.
"Koreans who are more than 70 years old" do not warrant special treatment. All people who have fallen through holes in past and present pension laws need more consideration
92. Concerning the situation of the Korean community living in Utoro, the Government should enter into a dialogue with the Utoro residents and take immediate action to protect them against forced evictions and prevent them from becoming homeless. In the light of the fact that the Koreans residents of Utoro have been placed in this land during the colonial times to work for the Japanese State for its war effort, and considering that they have been allowed to live there for 60 years, the Government should take appropriate measures to recognize their right to continue to live in this land.
The Utoro situation is partly a private matter to be resolved in the courts, and partly a community matter to be addressed by municipal and prefectural governments. There national government has no legal cause to interfere in either the private or community aspects of the Utoro situation.
93. Japanese national media should give more space to programmes on minorities, in order to reflect the pluralism of its society and promote a culture of reciprocal knowledge and interactions. Such programmes could be elaborated with the collaboration of minorities.
How many newspaper, magazines, and books did Diene read while he was in Japan? How many movies did he see? How much television did he watch?
In fact, knowledge of the "pluralism" in present-day Japan is inescapable. Plenty of programming and articles reflect the variety of peoples and cultures, including races and ethnic cultures, in Japan.
Ordinary children and adults in Japan, who watch television or read newspapers, will be aware that there is "pluralism" in Japanese society.
Government should adopt appropriate measures to guarantee that foreigners are
treated equally in
Apart from an anti-racial discrimination law that forbids refusal of access to the goods and services offered by public businesses for reasons of nationality, race, or ethnicity, no legislation is needed to improve the treatment of foreigners.
Generally, foreigners are treated appropriate to their visa status. There is a qualitative legal difference between being "Japanese" and "non-Japanese". There are also qualitative differences between being in Japan legally or illegally, or being in Japan on a tourist visa, student visa, work visa, or permanent residence visa. And there is a qualitative difference between a permanent residence visa and special permanent residence status.
Such qualitative differences in legal status are reasonable grounds to differentiate legal obligations (e.g., whether one must register) and privileges (e.g., whether one can vote), and to differentiate the availability and level of social services (e.g., access to social welfare programs and benefits).
95. The Government should also adopt measures to combat prejudices against foreigners through culture, in particular through promoting the knowledge of depth of the culture of the other. This could be most effectively achieved by promoting a vast programme of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, the organization of foreign cultural festivals and by creating dynamic cultural centres, of African, Arab, European and other countries, and developing Japanese cultural centres, in particular in the countries of the new migrantsf population, where prejudices are combated by knowing, understanding and appreciating the culture and history of others.
How much time did Diene spend experiencing Japanese mass media? Visiting bookstores and public libraries? Examining school textbooks and commercial publications?
Japan is a highly literate society. Its electronic and print media flood society with facts and knowledge about cultures all over the world.
The level of interest in any particular "other" country, at any given time, is inevitably influenced by international events. Over the past few decades, there have been several waves of interest in China and Korea. Today, there is more general interest in these countries than ever before -- as measured by the amount of information readily available in any local bookstore and on television, not to mention the Internet.
96. Communities can only plead for the respect of their human right as a discriminated community if they guarantee the respect of human rights and do not allow for discrimination within their communities. In this context, all communities, and specifically the Buraku and Ainu communities, should make sure that women can exercise their rights, as guaranteed by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in all fields of the political, economic, social and cultural life, within and outside the community, on an equal footing with men.
Again, the "community" metaphor is unwarranted. There are simply no such "singularities" in Japan. Even "the Japanese" do not constitute a "community" in the country. The notion of a racial or ethnic "community" would violate the principles of an anti-racial discrimination law, for under such a law it would not be possible to minoritize individuals as members of a racial or ethnic group.
97. Groups that are discriminated should act in a spirit of solidarity between them, and support each others against causes, as a way to achieve a truly pluralistic society, where all are minorities are respected and have their place.
The call for "solidarity" echoes BLL/IMADR propaganda. Ironically, such solidarity is impossible because of factions within the fictional "communities".
By "pluralistic society" does Diene mean "integrated and equal" or "separate but equal"? Does all "minorities . . . have their place" imply that "all majorities have their place"?
Does Diene really want to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination? Or does he want to draw lines that mark the "place" of every putative race?
* The summary of this report is being circulated in all official languages. The report, which is annexed to the summary, is being circulated in the language of submission only.
 Quotations provided by
the gSolidarity Network with Migrants