| Oct 5, 2010

Census blind to Japan's true diversity


It’s that time of the decade again. By now, all households in Japan should have received and submitted Japan’s National Census (kokusei chosa), a survey taken every five years expressly to assist in policymaking, drawing up electoral districts and other matters of taxation and ...

| Sep 7, 2010

Don't blame JET for Japan's poor English


The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, touted as the world’s largest cultural exchange scheme, has brought thousands of non-Japanese into the country to teach at local boards of education. These days, with many government programs being told to justify their existence, a debate is ...

| Jul 6, 2010

Japan's hostile hosteling industry


As you may know, Japan has no national civil or criminal legislation outlawing and punishing racial discrimination, meaning businesses with “Japanese only” signs aren’t doing anything illegal. Problem is, I’m not sure it would matter if such a law existed. To illustrate, consider one ...

| Jun 1, 2010

Futenma is undermining Japanese democracy


Times are tough for the Hatoyama Cabinet. It’s had to backtrack on several campaign promises. Its approval ratings have plummeted to around 20 percent. And that old bone of contention — what to do about American military bases on Japanese soil — has resurfaced ...

| May 4, 2010

Last gasps of Japan's dying demagogues


Tally ho! The hunt is on for “fake Japanese” in Japanese politics. On March 17, at a meeting of opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) officials, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara not only criticized the ruling coalition for their (now moribund) bill offering permanent resident non-Japanese ...

| Apr 6, 2010

Japan, U.N. share blind spot on 'migrants'


On March 23, I gave a speech to Jorge Bustamante, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, for NGO FRANCA regarding racial discrimination in Japan. Text follows: I wish to speak about the treatment of those of “foreign” origin and appearance ...