Visible minorities are being caught in police dragnet


Around noon on Aug. 13, in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, a local apartment manager notified the police that a “suspicious foreigner” was hanging around the nearby JR train station.

Police officers duly descended upon someone described by the Asahi Shimbun as a “20-year-old male who came from the Philippines with a Japanese passport.”

When asked what he was doing, he said he was meeting friends. When asked for his passport, he said he didn’t have it on him. At this point, he would no doubt have tried to explain his dual citizenship ― something the police claim they only confirmed much later through an interpreter.

So far, nothing illegal here: Carrying identification at all times is not legally required for Japanese citizens.

However, it is for non-Japanese. So the cops, convinced that he was really a non-Japanese man, took him in for questioning — for five hours. Then they arrested him under the Immigration Control Act for, according to a Nikkei report, not carrying his passport, and interrogated him for another seven.

In the wee hours of Aug. 14, after ascertaining that his father is Japanese and mother foreign, he was released with verbal apologies.

That hardly suffices. If any of you have ever undergone Japan’s “voluntary questioning” and/or 23 days of interrogation after arrest, you know how harrowing it can be.

And this isn’t the first instance. On Feb. 25, 2006, a 28-year-old foreign-looking Japanese woman was arrested in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, for not carrying a foreign passport.

Grounds for suspicion? According to the Mainichi Shimbun, she was carrying an envelope with Portuguese writing on it. Unable to talk because she was reportedly “not good at speaking to strangers,” she was released when they finally contacted her family after more than a full day of interrogation.

Milder cases are more commonplace: The New York Times (July 8, 2010) featured the account of a Japanese writer-translator who had been pulled aside repeatedly by Tokyo police officers for being “too tall and dark-colored,” and had even been asked to show the contents of her purse.

I too have been stopped and asked the personal questions reserved only for criminal suspects (shokumu shitsumon) on numerous occasions, but fortunately talked my way out of getting arrested for being a Japanese without a “gaijin (alien registration) card.”

As The Japan Times has been chronicling for years, the people particularly vulnerable during Japan’s perennial mission to smoke out “illegal foreign visa overstayers” are those who “look foreign.” That leads us to the point of this piece: Japan desperately needs a new concept to account for Japanese who don’t look it. How about visible minorities?

This concept and term has gained currency in minority studies. For example, the Canadian government uses it when referring to the treatment of people who may not at first glance “look” like the majority population.

Of course, it’s tough to discuss minority issues in allegedly “homogeneous Japan.” Our government has long denied any domestic minorities exist (see www.debito.org/japanvsun.html) You still get the occasional politician doing so (such as a Sapporo city assemblyman on Aug. 11), despite Japan’s parliament formally recognizing the Ainu as one in 2008.

But that hasn’t deterred Japan scholars from studying the Ainu, as well as the Okinawans, the burakumin historical underclass, Zainichi Korean and Chinese generational foreigners, South American workers of Japanese descent, and the 2 million registered foreign residents.

Yet Japanese studies have generally overlooked how physical appearance plays a part in Japan’s racialization dynamics. Even recent work, such as Kyle Cleveland’s insightful chapter on ethnic minorities in the 2013 book “Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan,” does not mention physical appearance or skin color as an issue in discrimination. He describes minorities in Japan as “invisible.”

I disagree. And those detained for looking foreignly suspicious, singled out for bullying for being “half” or “gaijin” in schools, and denied entry to “Japanese only” establishments, might also.

Moreover, unlike other minorities, visible ones cannot “pass” as Japanese in terms of physical appearance, and thus face different forms of discrimination. Further, visible minorities also include Japanese citizens, bringing in issues of guaranteed equal protection under the law.

It also leads to the fundamental question of “What is a Japanese?” As my doctoral research demonstrated, “Japaneseness” is linked to physical appearance by Japan’s laws, law enforcement, public policy, jurisprudence and media messages. And as seen in the Ushiku, Tokyo, Sapporo and Saitama cases above, you have to “look Japanese” to be treated as such.

Overlooking the existence of Japan’s visible minorities must stop. Thousands of Japanese children have been born to international marriages. Thousands have naturalized. Nearly half of Japan’s entire registered non-Japanese population are permanent residents. Well over half of those again (the regular permanent residents, as opposed to the Zainichi) are people who came from overseas. There is enormous diversity that is being under-analyzed.

In fact, let’s go one step further: Permanent residents should claim their minority status themselves. After all, if you can stay here as a permanent part of a society, you can qualify as a minority. That includes the foreign scholars of minority issues, who despite decades living in and researching in Japan, don’t appear to consider themselves members of a minority.

That’s the big-picture stuff for this month. Now let’s turn to some concrete policy measures the government can take to reduce the chances of people getting wrongfully detained.

First, if the Japanese police must go gaijin hunting, then train them properly in immigration law.

Any Immigration Bureau official knows that: a) foreigners are not required to carry a passport at all times (that’s why gaijin cards exist) unless they are unregistered tourists; b) naturalized Japanese exist; and c) dual nationality is legally possible until the day you turn age 22 — and, in any case, it is not grounds for suspicion, detention or arrest.

The Ushiku police in particular should have known all this. Ushiku hosts one of Japan’s biggest foreigner prisons, the East Japan Immigration Control Center. Then again, conditions there are so harsh that detainees carried out hunger strikes and even committed suicide there in 2010. So maybe this is how Ushiku police are trained.

Law enforcement also needs to let go of the narrative that “foreigners are suspicious.” If some old crank busybody calls the cops on some kid waiting for his friends, officers should demand more grounds than just his or her “foreignness.”

But, above all, the authorities need to acknowledge Japan’s diversity by accepting the concept of visible minorities, and start making policies to protect the Japanese who cannot “pass.”

Once again, that means creating that Holy Grail of a racial discrimination law. However, we can start off small by officially depicting Japaneseness as a legal status, not a bloodline-determined mystical concept entwined with racial purity. Fat chance under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, I know, but it must happen someday.

Ultimately, Japan’s visible minorities are the canary in the coal mine. How they are treated is a bellwether of how Japan will handle its inevitably increasing diversity. Otherwise, if you — or your kids — happen to be too tall, dark or scary, you had better start carrying your Japanese passport around.

Debito Arudou’s “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan” is available on Amazon as an ebook. For more details, see www.debito.org/handbook.html. Twitter @arudoudebito. Just Be Cause usually appears in print on the first Thursday of the month. Your comments: community@japantimes.co.jp

  • Oliver Mackie

    You mentioned your dissertation. Sounds like a very important document indeed. I do hope you are willing to make it available to a wider audience.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    Excellent article. Your articles are so much better and interesting when they do not become polemics Debito. Please try and keep this style. It will be interesting to find out if foreigner tourists and athletes will be arrested during the Olympics for not carrying their passport….!

  • Steve Jackman

    The first step towards bringing about change is for Japan to come up with a comprehensive law against racial discrimination, as Debito has alluded to. This was also a main conclusion of last week’s report on Japan by The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). In discussing the report, committee member Anwar Kemal stated clearly, “You (Japan) need a comprehensive law on racial discrimination. That is the most important thing”.

    The Japanese are mostly law abiding, so a law against racial discrimination would send a very clear message to the police, other state institutions and average citizens, that racism, racial discrimination and racial profiling of visible minorities is not acceptable in Japan.

    I was disappointed that the U.N. report on the state of racism and racial discrimination in Japan did not get the news coverage it deserves. Even when, this news was reported by the Japanese press, they largely focused only on the one item of hate speech, while ignoring the committee’s many other findings outlined in the rest of the report. In fact, the U.N. report is much broader in scope and it strongly criticizes Japan for the racism and racial discrimination faced by minorities and non-citizens in many areas, including, employment, housing, exclusion from use of public facilities and businesses such as restaurants and shops, profiling of minority groups on the basis of religion, as well as, the absence of laws against racial discrimination in Japan.

    It is therefore important to keep in mind the following sections from the U.N. report on Japan, which was released just last week:


    “Definition of Racial Discrimination

    The Committee is concerned that the definition of racial discrimination in paragraph 1 of article 14 of the Constitution of Japan, which prescribes the principles of equality and non-discrimination does not include the grounds of national or ethnic origin, colour or descent, and therefore does not fully meet the requirements of article 1 of the Convention. Similarly, there is no adequate definition of racial discrimination in domestic legislation (arts 1 and 2).

    The Committee recommends that the State party adopt in its legislation a comprehensive definition of racial discrimination which integrates the grounds of national or ethnic origin, colour and descent, in full compliance with article 1, paragraph 1, of the Convention.”


    “Absence of a specific and comprehensive law prohibiting racial discrimination

    While noting that some laws include provisions against racial discrimination, the Committee is concerned that acts and incidents of racial discrimination continue to occur in the State party and that the State party has not yet enacted a specific and comprehensive law on the prohibition of racial discrimination which will enable victims to seek appropriate legal redress for racial discrimination (art. 2).

    The Committee urges the State party to adopt specific and comprehensive legislation prohibiting racial discrimination, both direct and indirect, in compliance with articles 1 and 2 of the Convention, which will enable victims of racial discrimination to seek appropriate legal redress.”


    “National Human Rights Institution

    The Committee is concerned that the State party has not yet established a national human rights institution in full compliance with the Paris principles. In this context, the Committee notes that the examination of the Human Rights Commission Bill was scrapped in 2012 following the dissolution of the House of Representatives and that the progress made to establish a national human rights institution has been very slow. (art. 2).

    Bearing in mind its general recommendation No. 17 (1994) on the establishment of national institutions to facilitate implementation of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party promptly resume the consideration of the Human Rights Commission Bill and expedite its adoption with a view to establishing an independent national human rights institution, providing it with adequate human and financial resources as well as with a mandate to address complaints of racial discrimination, in full compliance with the Paris principles (General Assembly resolution 48/134).”


    “The Committee recommends that the State party reinforce its legislation in order to firmly combat racial discrimination against migrants in employment and access to housing and improve migrants employment status, bearing in mind the Committee’s general recommendation No. 30 (2004) on discrimination against non-citizens.”


    “Access by non-citizens to public places and facilities

    The Committee is concerned about the continued exclusion of non-citizens on the basis of race or nationality from accessing some public places and facilities of general use, such as restaurants, hotels, family public bathhouses and stores, in violation of articles 2 and 5 of the Convention (art. 2, 5).

    The Committee recommends that the State party take appropriate measures to protect non-citizens from discrimination in access to public places, in particular by ensuring effective application of its legislation. The Committee also recommends that the State party investigate and sanction such acts of discrimination and enhance public awareness-raising campaigns on the requirements of the relevant legislation.”


    “the Committee is concerned about reports on the increase of xenophobic and discriminatory attitudes against non-citizens and indigenous peoples, including through mass media. (art. 2, 7).”


    “Preparation of the next report

    The Committee recommends that the State party submit its tenth to eleventh periodic reports in a single document by 14 January 2017, taking into account the treaty-specific reporting guidelines adopted by the Committee at its seventy-first session (CERD/C/2007/1) and addressing all the points raised in these concluding observations.”


  • http://www.dadsarmy.co.uk/ GMainwaring

    “However, we can start off small by officially depicting Japaneseness as a legal status, not a bloodline-determined mystical concept entwined with racial purity.”

    Mr. Arudou, “Japanese” is already officially depicted as a legal, not genetic, status, as you yourself, as a Japanese national with all the same legal rights and protections as every other Japanese national, should know.

    Although I have absolutely no idea (and I suspect you do not either) as to how to arrive at a concrete, objective definition of “seemingly Japanese” (your “Japaneseness”, which I suspect should have been hyphenated anyway) that would not be somehow based on appearance or mannerisms (subjective analyses which you explicitly reject). Nor do I have any idea how, even if a definition could be arrived at, such profiling could be incorporated into and protected under the law – and I really don’t think it should be, even if it could.

    I really hope your doctoral thesis was better thought-out than this.

    • phu

      “I really hope your doctoral thesis was better thought-out than this.”

      I was amused at the article’s reference to the research for that document, which strongly suggests it’s little more than a longer version of his typical rants.

    • KenjiAd

      Debito is confusing Japanese citizenship with the ethnocultural concept of being “Japanese.” The latter is hard to define, as the clear boundary does not exist. It may be related to things like demeanor, fluency in Japanese language, appearance, habits, etc.

      If Debito’s mission is to get rid of the distinction between Japanese as defined by citizenship and ethnoculturally defined Japanese, good luck to him, because he is up against the custom of the past few thousand years.

      If his mission, which is still not very clear to me, is to have the Japanese police to be more sensitive to foreigners and foreign-looking Japanese citizens, I’m with him. They have to change.

    • blondein_tokyo

      What he is saying is that the law does not clearly recognize that there are people with Japanese nationality who are not ethnically Japanese. This is an important to clarify because the police do not take that into consideration and wind up arresting people whom they think are not Japanese simply because those people do not LOOK ethnically Japanese.

      There is the additional problem of racial profiling, i.e., assuming that a foreigner who is standing around in front of the station is there for criminal mischief rather than simply meeting a friend.

      This would be like the police in Canada arresting random Asians who are simply walking around on the street for visa violations, only later to find out that person was actually born and raised in Canada.

      .If you are wondering how Japan can get around this problem, you only have to look and see how other ethnically mixed countries do it, and viola! You have a least a partial solution. Is really isn’t all that difficult.

    • Steve Jackman

      Your comment seems like an attempt to muddy the water by throwing in a lot of mumbo jumbo. Debito’s article is right on when it comes to the mindset of the Japanese police, state institutions and general public, which is behind racial discrimination and racial profiling in Japan.

    • Jim Jimson

      You’re confusing the words legal and official, which Debito has used correctly. Laws make up only a tiny fraction of governmental/official publications, and it is clearly the latter broad category to which Debito is referring. In other words, non-Yamato people should be used as examples of a generic Japanese citizens in print and visual media with greater frequency. The word “depict” especially justifies this reading, since laws are incapable of painting a portrait of the ethnic makeup of a society, except in most roundabout and figurative sense.

    • Greg Estelcherry

      Adding to what Mainwaring said, I find this piece by Debito hypocritical and disingenuous.
      Look at Debito’s past articles and his website and note the hundreds of occasions in which he and they refer to what ‘The Japanese’ allegedly believe, think, and feel. The ‘Japanese’ to whom they refer obviously do not include visible minorities, mixed-race children, naturalized citizens etc. It clearly refers only to the near-mythical Yamato-daishi segment of the population. For Debito and his fans, these are clearly the ‘real’ Japanese.

      By regular ignoring the diverse elements in the Japanese populace and treating the Japanese as a monolithic mindset, Debito and his supporters actually maintain and contribute to the very mentality that Debito is accusing the police of in his article.

  • Loren Fykes

    One of the few pieces–if not the first–I’ve seen addressing intelligently the need to stop the conflation of ethnicity and nationality in the concept of “Japanese,” and seriously to understand that race, color and appearance play a major role in discrimination and the socialization of a person in Japan.

    This should be immediately translated into Japanese and sent to the Japanese media for print. It’s a shame to have this type of editorial only available in English.

    @Japan Times: get it in Japanese so that your readership can share these types of opinion pieces with their “Japanese” network.

  • Steve Jackman

    You seem to have entirely missed the point of my comment, which is that Japan needs comprehensive laws against racial discrimination, if entrenched attitudes of racism, racial discrimination and racial profiling are to change among the Japanese public and police. The excerpts from the U.N. report which I included in my comment are absolutely relevent in this regards (especially, for those who have their heads buried in the sand and deny that Japan has a serious problem of racism, racial discrimination and racial profiling).

  • Oliver Mackie

    I have a question, either for the article author or anyone else who knows. The two incidents in Ushiku and Saitama were reported as having been detailed in Japanese newspapers. Why were these two incidents detailed in said papers?

  • Mike

    I just say I’m Japanese. Then the police have no reason to question me, less they risk being labelled racist.

  • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

    When asked what he was doing, he said he was meeting friends. When asked his nationality, he mentioned his dual citizenship. Unfortunately, he carried no proof of that.

    There’s a huge omission in these three sentences. According to Asahi’s article, which Dr. Arudou cites as his source, the “[mentioning] his dual citizenship” did not occur on the street as this and later paragraphs would lead you to believe. (i.e. the chronology between the escorting to the station and the discovery of his nationality is backwards in this article)

    According to Nikkei article, which Dr. Arudou also sourced, this information became clear only occured until later, at the station, via interpreter. It’s curious that Dr. Arudou decided not to mention that they needed to use an interpreter to discover key claims that would exonerate him.

    In the Asahi article, which Dr. Arudou also sourced — implying he read it — it said that the suspect, when initially approached, spoke “broken Japanese” (“katakoto no nihongo”) when saying “I came to see a friend” etc (“tomodachi ni ai ni kita” nado). THAT (the broken Japanese and inability to articulate his nationality in Japanese) was the reason they asked him (they did not arrest him yet) to voluntarily accompany the officers to the police station. It is very curious that Dr. Arudou left out this key detail.

    I suspect the reason Debito omitted all the details regarding communication difficulty is because it ruined his desired narrative: that the police’s decision to detail this poor fellow was based entirely on his “physical appearance” (mentioned four times) and had nothing to do with poor basic communication skills (mentioned zero times in Dr. Arudou’s article, yet referenced in both the Asahi and Nikkei articles).

    Perhaps Dr. Arudou is so obsessed with “race”, due to his thesis focus, that he failed to consider that there are possibly other reasons why the police suspected he didn’t have Japanese nationality: He wasn’t able to speak Japanese well enough to tell the police he was a Japanese national.

    It’s very true that it is possible to be a legal Japanese national and not be able to speak a lick of Japanese or speak it poorly. As the police implied in their apology, they need to take that possibility into account for future encounters.

    It’s a shame that Dr. Arudou omitted (Japanese language communication problems) and distorted (by reversed the chronology of) these important facts from his article.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    I am from England. If you were to travel to England we do not require you to carry your passport or any identifying documentation. QED.

  • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

    Yes yes, shame on me. Wanting the core facts and timeline of an arrest reported accurately in a newspaper of all places, for heaven’s sake. I mean, as long as newspapers are getting the main point across, are “details” and “facts” really that important?! I mean, c’mon, this is the “Community” section of the paper, not the “News” section! The writer should be allowed to take liberties with the facts if it helps better make his main point! <snicker/>

  • leonidas

    I remember my ex-GF would get stopped all the time in Saitame because the police thought she looked Filipino; despite being Japanese. It’s probably why she got a drivers license. Imagine having to spend 200,000-¥300,000 of your own money, just so the cops will leave you alone.

  • J.P. Bunny

    Another non-issue article. Overstaying visas and illegal entry are crimes and it is the job of the police to catch lawbreakers. Only foreigners can be guilty of immigration crimes, and looks count. From what was available in Debito’s, article the people questioned had no proof of what they claimed. How is a policeman supposed to know it those people were telling the truth or not? And considering that they couldn’t speak the language very well the police would not be doing their job if they weren’t brought in (not arrested) for questioning.
    Naturalized Japanese citizens may not be required to carry a passport, but they are always going to look “foreign” to people here. The “victims” in question couldn’t be bothered to have some piece of paper on them showing their status. No tears shed for them.

  • iago

    From being a foreigner and not in possession of his residence card or passport: the offence of which he was incorrectly suspected.

  • Mark Makino

    The danger of applying modern political terms for populations to the clades and subclades described in that WIkipedia article is that it implies that the political terms are coterminous with the genetic ones; and like evolutionary theory in the hands of writers of books like “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” ends up playing to political or ideological discourses which are not supported by science.
    I don’t think we really disagree, but when we use phrases like “Japanese are descended from…” it implies a uniformity that isn’t there to people who are inclined to look for it, which I prefer to avoid.

  • blondein_tokyo

    Sherryl, you are saying this to either purposely poison the well, or because you are honestly too ignorant to understand the difference between bashing and criticism.

    You are using the same kinds of dishonest tactics that you did in our last discussion. There, too, you offered up false dichotomies (as though one cannot address racism in one’s own country as well as in their adopted one) and made accusations towards me which were blatantly false and for which you could not provide any evidence or examples. You also refused to address any of the points I made, and instead launched ad hominem attacks.

    This shows me (and anyone else who cares to check the past comments which Disqus allows you to do by clicking the poster’s handle) that you have NO idea how to structure a sound argument, are completely disingenuous if not totally dishonest, and quite unable to understand even the simplest logic. Talking to you is completely pointless and a waste of time.

  • Oliver Mackie

    BTW, my post was not ‘accidentally deleted’ either. Rather telling, don’t you think?

  • Sam Gilman

    Hmmm. Clearly, you missed the fact that it has been reported in Japanese, as even the article itself says.

    But more importantly, why did you assume that it hadn’t been reported in Japanese? I’m curious because one often sees these claims about “how the Japanese need to be told” about something that was actually reported in the Japanese media before someone rendered it in English. It’s a little creepy because it paints a picture of the native Japanese as profoundly ignorant about their own sins and in need of enlightenment by westerners.

    Perhaps the right people in certain positions need to have their attention specifically drawn to certain issues, but that’s not what you said.

  • MeTed

    I have been to Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Korea. I don’t remember being told to carry my passport at all times for ID in any of these countries.

  • iago

    If you mean “everyone who lives here knows that, rightly or wrongly, it is written into the law that Japanese cops can demand to see ID of foreigners simply on the basis of them being foreign,” then yes, everybody is better to know that. Unfortunately it seems clear they do not.

    Is looking foreign equated with being foreign. Yes, and therein lies the rub.

    I’m afraid I don’t know which one is your relative, Uncle Tom, but I’m sure he’s quite the character.

  • HSSL

    Debito is the Al Sharpton of Japan.

  • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

    Obviously I’ve read all these, as I referenced them in my post. But thank you for ramming all those competitor links which I wanted to include through Disqus’ / JT’s moderation — allowing everybody else to easily confirm that this article / newspaper omitted & distorted key facts in a recent news story! It’s good for Japan Times readers to be reminded that they’re often not getting the whole story when they read a minor English language paper.

    Regarding Nishanta’s column (which I also have read), here’s one of many excellent counterpoints to it that you won’t find on the Hawaiian Doctor’s blog:


  • Jonathon

    I like how “Debito” gives us his own experience of being stopped by the police, as if this happens to white people as frequently and in the same manner as it does to non-white foreigners.

  • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

    Here’s another bad mistake in this article:

    [They] took him in for questioning — for five hours. Then they arrested him under the Immigration Control Act for, according to a Nikkei report, not carrying his passport, and interrogated him for another seven.

    Dr. Arudou says he was detained for twelve hours.

    Checking with original sources, however, we see that according to the jiji article, it says the suspect was taken to the station at around 5:10pm (other articles round this time to “5pm”), and released seven (7) hours later.

    In other words, Dr. Arudou mistranslated “5pm” (a shame that they didn’t use the notation “17:00”) to mean “5 hours” and summed up seven plus five (7 + 5) to assume twelve (12)!

    The Doctor’s Japanese reading comprehension ability appears to be slipping…

  • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

    Wow. I’ve just been totally censored by the Japan Times.

  • andrewmag166

    My wife is Japanese, I lived a couple years on and off in Japan. Most of the time in Tokyo but much time in smaller cities and the countryside too. I was always treated very good in Japan by Japanese and the police never bothered me. Maybe I was just lucky I never understand when people say they had problems with discrimination and the police. I love Japan I was treated better there than in the US.

  • http://www.dadsarmy.co.uk/ GMainwaring

    I see that once again the JT community “editorial staff” is doing its utmost to circle the wagons and prevent actual facts from interfering with a hyperbolic narrative. One of the commenters here has pointed out, several times today, how Mr. Arudou got the most basic of facts concerning the Ushiku incident wrong – and every time his posts get flagged as “spam” and deleted. Disgraceful behavior – I would expect it on Mr. Arudou’s website, as he has an agenda to push and it is just a personal blog, but in a newspaper?

    Especially one which has dared use the motto ‘All the news without fear or favor”?

    It is quite clear that Ben Stubbings et. al. exhibit a great deal of favoritism, and fear the truth if it does not fit their (or their writers’ ) little narrative.

  • http://www.dadsarmy.co.uk/ GMainwaring

    I see that once again the JT community “editorial staff” is doing its utmost to circle the wagons and prevent actual facts from interfering with a hyperbolic narrative. One of the commenters here has pointed out, several times today, how Mr. Arudou got the most basic of facts concerning the Ushiku incident wrong – and every time his posts get flagged as “spam” and deleted. Disgraceful behavior – I would expect it on Mr. Arudou’s website, as he has an agenda to push and it is just a personal blog, but in a newspaper?

    Especially one which has dared use the motto ‘All the news without fear or favor”?

    It is quite clear that Ben Stubbings et. al. exhibit a great deal of favoritism, and fear the truth if it does not fit their (or their writers’ ) little narrative.

  • Oliver Mackie

    I have spent part of the past two days writing a lengthy post that sought to, if not bridge the gap between the two sides, at least further mutual understanding of why the gap exists. In the meantime one of my posts has been deleted, simply for expressing the fact that the an earlier one had, as well as one of another poster’s. I first thought that claims made by some here, that certain posters here were acting under pseudonyms and were actually the author himself, was absurd. Now I’m not so sure. Anyway, given the clear ‘editorial’ bias here and the lack of transparency about what role, if any, the author plays in editing comments, I am withdrawing from any future debates here. I will not be further part of enabling either the author or the JT to point to the high level of commenting activity here to boost their credentials or advertising sales pitch.

  • iago

    As the newspaper reports identify the caller as a local apartment manager, it seems reasonable to infer that the police did confirm the caller and have his/her details. They then dispatched to the rail station to verify the caller’s claim, hence we now have something to talk about.

  • J.P. Bunny

    Maybe because the whole issue is just some very minor incident blown out of proportion by someone who needs to vent his paranoia in the newspaper.

    Police respond to a call.
    Person in question looks “foreign.”
    Person in question has no ID, nor can communicate in Japanese.
    Person in question brought to police station for questioning.
    A Japanese speaking person who knows person in question is contacted. Explanation in given.
    Person in question goes home with an apology.

    This is not a major event.

  • benvad

    That’s on paper and legal wise you’re a Japanese. Let’s face reality you’ll never be Japanese, ever. Just like in Canada a real Canadian is a white person descended from people in the British Isles and a Quebecer is an old stock original descendant from Western France only. The rest of the white Europeans can assimilate into either of these groups.

    Now non whites can never ever really be seen as Canadians. They’ll be visible minorities forever.

  • Guest

    Thank you for correcting (albeit a stealth edit) the article finally today. However, one big mistake still remains: the article mistranslated the Japanese sources, claiming he was interrogated for five plus seven (twelve) hours. In fact, he was arrested at five o’clock, but only interrogated for seven.

  • Rohan4

    Goodluck with the olympics!

    Haha. Enjoyed the article..

  • At Times Mistaken

    Glad to see the JT fixed what amounted to a minor error in this story. I only wish it had noted the correction at the bottom of the article like it’s done in the past (as with the April 6, 2013 wire story, “Whale Institute Still Justifying Lethal Research”). Anything less just seems kind of sneaky and detracts from the credibility of this much needed article on a very important issue.

  • Rafael Solorzano

    “Those who look foreign”. It appears that the author of the article is having a hard time finding the right terms to explain what in America is known as “color or race

  • http://zi.n.gy/ Kirt Seth Cathey

    I have seen foreigners get hauled into the koban and even transported for questioning because they did not cooperate. It’s usually the western types that think that the police have no right to question their status. If a policeman asks for ID, pull it out and show it. He will take one glance at it and both of you will walk away. I have been here for over 15 years and was only asked once when I was being questioned as a witness.