“WAREWARE NIPPONJIN”
Impediments to awareness of
Japan’s racial diversity
By ARUDOU Debito
Associate Professor, Hokkaido Information University
Photo: Otaru Onsen “Osupa”, Otaru, Hokkaido, Jan 3, 2000
1
Japan, has racial and ethnic
diversity? Masaka!
 As of end-2005, Japan has over two million
(2,011,555) registered non-J residents.
 NJ are 1.57% of Japan’s total population, or
2.93% of the Tokyo-area population.
 Low, compared to 4.6% (2003) in Britain,
5.5% (1999) in France, 9.7% (2002) in
Germany, 12.1% (2005, legal and illegal) in
the US, and 21.8% (2001) in Australia.
2
Our public officials would agree...
Minister of Education Ibuki Bunmei
Feb 25, 2007: “Japan is an extremely
homogenous country.”
“I don’t see any specific problem with
saying that.” PM Abe Feb 26, 2007.
3
Our public officials would agree...
 “Japanese have come to the present living on these islands some
2000 years with no different ethnic peoples present, our same
Yamato ethnic people have come [to the present] living hand in
hand. Because ours is a country where such a good aspect
remains, robberies and murders are the fewest in the world.” (thenPrime Minister Nakasone 1983)
 "So high is the level of education in our country that Japan's is an
intelligent society. Our average score is much higher than those of
countries like the U.S. There are many blacks, Puerto Ricans and
Mexicans in America. In consequence the average score over
there is exceedingly low.” (PM Nakasone 1986)
 "There are no minorities in Japan to which Article 27 of Section III
[freedom of religion and language] of the International Covenant on
Human Rights refers." (Japanese Govt. to UN, 1980)
4
Japan’s growing diversity...
 Most non-Japanese residents are Asian and long-
term. Koreans and Chinese are the majority of the
end-2005 registered 2 million (29.8% + 25.8%)
 However, third are Brazilians with 300,000+, then
Filipinos and Peruvians (15% + 9.3% + 2.9%)
 Brazilian pop. still increasing by about 1% a year.
 Sundry countries labeled “other” (その他) are also
increasing as a proportion (296,848 or 14.8%) and as
a rate (3% per year).
5
Japan’s growing diversity...
 Japan’s “Newcomer” General Permanent
Residents (一般永住者) are catching up to
“Special Permanent Residents” (特別永住者).
 “Newcomers” doubled from 145,336 in 2000
to 312,964 in 2005, increasing 10% a year.
 “Oldcomer” Zainichis actually shrank (due to
death or naturalization) from 512,269 to
451,909, decreasing by about 3% a year.
 At this rate, there will be more immigrants
than Zainichi by 2008!
6
In fact, immigration is
continuing apace
40% of all registered nonJapanese residents in 2005 were
Permanent Residents.
They are here to stay.
7
But do you hear about these
developments, in the media,
policy arenas, or schools?
Not really, and this is where an educational
deficit creates public ignorance of Japan’s
actual diversity.
I believe the reason is political:
Maintaining the national narrative of
“Homogeneous Japan”
8
For more information about
Japan’s historical diversity:
John Lie, MULTIETHNIC JAPAN
for information about Japan’s
Burakumin, Korean, Chinese,
Ainu, and Ryukyu minorities.
9
Japan’s invisible kokusaika
 There are around 40,000 international
marriages per year in Japan.
 Over 70% are J men to NJ women.
 Their international children do not appear in
statistics on “registered foreigners”.
Of
course not. They are citizens.
 International children are also invisible
statistically. The Japan Census Bureau does
not measure for ethnicity.
10
WELCOME TO THE FUTURE
(Amy (left) and Anna Sugawara Aldwinckle 1996)
Born and raised in Japan. Native speakers of Japanese. Japanese citizens.
11
Japan’s invisible kokusaika (2)
There are around 20,000 people
naturalizing into Japan per year.
From 1968 onwards, an estimated
400,000 people have de-foreignized.
However, the Ministry of Justice will not
make public any official numbers or
nationalities. Why the secrecy?
12
“NEWCOMERS
SUSTAIN
SECTORS
WHERE
JAPANESE
AREN’T ABLE
OR WILLING
TO PICK
UP THE
SLACK.”
--NEWSWEEK
SEPT 11, 2006
13
Assimilation is also occurring...
Erstwhile “Japanese Only” onsen Osupa manager Mr. Ohkoshi
and newfound friend enjoy a soak...
Photo courtesy Kyodo News/Kumanichi Shinbun, from nationwide feature article Jan 12, 2002
14
Even politically...
We have three Dietmembers who are
naturalized citizens: Ren Ho (Zainichi
Taiwanese), Haku Shinkun (Zainichi
Korean), Tsurunen Marutei (Finland).
Brooklyn-born Anthony Bianchi was reelected to his second term in Inuyama
City Assembly on April 22, 2007, after
an unsuccessful mayoral bid.
15
Don’t forget:
Japan needs foreigners!
With the record-low birthrate and
record-high lifetime expectancies, the
UN predicts Japanese society will soon
have the highest percentage of elderly.
As of 2006, the Health Ministry says
Japan’s population is decreasing and
will fall from 127 to 100 million by 2050.
(The average annual influx of around 50,000 foreigners
buoyed Japan in the black in 2005.)
16
And Japan is bringing them in.
 Both the UN and a PM Cabinet survey in 2000
indicated that Japan must import 600,000
workers per year to maintain the current
standard of living and tax base.
 Japan is already importing foreign workers, to
alleviate the labor shortage and hollowing out
of domestic industry.
 This is at the behest of domestic industry,
including Japan Keidanren (Japan Business
Federation), the most powerful biz lobby.
17
“WITHOUT
FOREIGNERS,
THE
‘TOYOTA
SYSTEM’
WON’T WORK.”
--SHUUKAN
DIAMONDO
JUNE 5, 2004
18
However...
There are still enormous
pressures to systematically
marginalize, disenfranchise, and
exclude non-Japanese.
19
For example, education itself.
 Universal education is only guaranteed to citizens.
 There are cases of J schools refusing NJ children.
 Asahi Feb 12, 2007: “A survey six years ago estimated
that 3,000 Brazilian children between 6 and 15 in Japan
had never been enrolled in school.
 “More than 10,000 Brazilian children never entered
school or dropped out... between 20 and 40 percent of
Brazilian children are currently out of primary education.
 “These figures do not include the 25 percent of children
who go to expensive Brazilian schools that are not
officially recognized as ‘schools’ by the Japanese
government.”
20
Shut them out!
 Very few “ethnic” schools are recognized by
the Ministry of Education, meaning their
degrees will not get them into Japanese
universities.
 Many regional governments will not hire nonJapanese for civil servant jobs, citing the
“Nationality Clause” (国籍条項)
 The blood requirements for J citizenship
mean that half a million people (citizens by
birth in most developed countries) have been
“foreigners” for four generations.
21
“Invisible foreigners”
Juuminhyou residency issues
Residency certificates (juuminhyou)
required for anything official, are
reserved for people who have a Family
Registry (koseki) in Japan... i.e citizens.
Which means foreigners are not
registered as “residents”. And are not
included with their Japanese families on
the form.
22
23
Likewise int’l marriages are
not officially listed as such
Only people with Family Registry
(koseki), i.e. citizens, can be listed
as such as “spouse”.
Which means the “husband” or
“wife” column is left blank, even
though the marriage is officially
sanctioned. For example:
24
25
Moreover...
Japan is the only major
industrialized nation without any
form of a law against Racial
Discrimination.
And it shows.
26
..
.
Wakkanai
...
.
.
Monbetsu
Rumoi
Otaru
Ohtaki-mura
AKITA CITY
ISESAKI CITY, GUNMA PREF.
OHTA CITY, GUNMA PREF.
KOFU, YAMANASHI PREF.
DAITOU-SHI, OSAKA PREF
KYOTO
KITAKYUSHU CITY
FUKUOKA PREF
OKINAWA
URUMA CITY
.
.
KURASHIKI CITY,
OKAYAMA PREF.
HIROSHIMA
Sapporo
.....
.
.
.
.
Nemuro
MISAWA, AOMORI PREF.
KOSHIGAYA, SAITAMA PREF.
TODA CITY, SAITAMA PREF.
TOKYO OGIKUBO
TOKYO AOYAMA DOORI
TOKYO SHINBASHI
TOKYO SHINJUKU-KU
TOKYO KABUKICHO
HAMAMATSU, SHIZUOKA PREF.
NAGOYA
More information and photos at
www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html
27
“JAPANESE ONLY” signs and
rules have been found at:
Bathhouses, bars, discos, stores,
hotels, restaurants, karaoke and
pachinko parlors, ramen shops,
barbershops, a swimming pool, a
billiards hall, a sports store, and a
woman’s footbath boutique.
28
Example: The Otaru Onsens Case
(more at www.debito.org)
ISBN 4 7503 9018 6 English version, Japanese version ISBN 4 7503 9001 9
29
Japan is also the only major
industrialized nation without
any form of a law against hate
speech.
And it shows.
30
Shizuoka NPA foreign crime pamphlet 2001
www.debito.org/TheCommunity/shizuokakeisatsuhandbook.html31
Off-color NPA notices warning the public
against foreign bagsnatchers and knifers
(found at bank ATMs and subways)
:
www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police
32
“GAIJIN [sic] CRIME UNDERGROUND FILES”
“Everyone will be a target of gaijin
crime in 2007!!”
“Will we let gaijin lay waste to
Japan?!!”
Eichi Shuppan Jan 31 2007 128
pages. Price:¥690
Publisher:
“Joey H. Washington”
No advertising whatsoever.
Sold at convenience stores
nationwide.
See whole magazine at:
www.flickr.com/photos/ultraneo/se
ts/72157594531953574/
33
“You [bitches]!!
Are gaijin really that good?”
34
“Hey nigger, get your hand off
that J-girl’s ass!!”
35
Statements by our politicians
 ”A million [Chinese, Koreans,
 “Foreigners are all sneaky
etc.], all thieves and murderers,
are in Japan... making
Kabukicho a lawless zone.”
(Dietman Etoh Takami Jul 12
2003)
 "Given the exceptional
atmosphere of the [2002 World
Cup], we must face the
possibility of unwanted babies
fathered by foreigners who rape
our women.” (Miyagi Pref.
Assemblyman Konno Takayoshi
Jun 27 2001)
thieves. As Tokyo Gov. Ishihara
cracked down on them, they
flowed into Kanagawa
Prefecture.” K. Gov Matsuzawa
Nov 2 2003)
 “Roppongi is now virtually a
foreign neighborhood. Africans
--I don't mean AfricanAmericans--who don't speak
English are there doing who
knows what. This is leading to
new forms of crime such as car
theft. We should be letting in
people who are intelligent.”
(Tokyo Gov. Ishihara, Feb 19,
2007)
36
CONCLUSION:
Is anything changing?
Not really. And things won’t
change until Japan keeps its
international promises--making this
sort of thing punishable by law, and
enforceable by the police and/or
investigative bodies.
37
Also by educating the public.
 The highest levels of government must make
clear that non-Japanese are residents of
Japan too, with rights, privileges, and duties.
 As taxpayers, that NJ are also supporting
Japan’s social services and keeping its
factories competitive.
 That NJ need the same civil-society support
and social safety net as any citizen.
 This must be done at the most elementary
levels of public education in Japan. Now.
38
Download this powerpoint
presentation at:
www.debito.org/ICUsteele0424
07.ppt
THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING TODAY’S PRESENTATION
39
Cooking foreign crime statistics:
Referential websites:
Japan Times Oct 4, 2002: “Generating
the foreigner crime wave”
www.debito.org/japantimes100402.html
Full info site on police targeting and
racial profiling at
www.debito.org/TheCommunity/
communityissues.html#police
40
Addendum: Regarding foreign crime:
How the NPA cooks the statistics.
 Release six-month
 Include visa
updates on foreign
crime to great
fanfare, but with no
comparison to J
crime rates.
 Focus on increases,
never on decreases.
 Focus on
percentages, not
hard numbers.
violations with
harder crimes.
 Bias sample through
racial profiling.
 No deflator to take
into account rise in
foreign population,
static J population.
41
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