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 Debito Arudou

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Debito Arudou
Debito is the Just Be Cause columnist for the Community Page and has been contributing to The Japan Times since 2002. Author of eight books, including "Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants" (2nd Ed.), "Japanese Only" and the novel "In Appropriate," his most recent work is "Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination" (Lexington Books). He has been a naturalized Japanese citizen since 2000, and his daily blog and archive is at www.debito.org.
For Debito Arudou's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Nov 3, 2009
Demography vs. demagoguery: when politics, science collide
Last June, I attended a symposium sponsored by the German Institute of Japanese Studies. Themed "Imploding Populations: Global and Local Challenges of Demographic Change," I took in presentations about health care, international and domestic migration, and life in a geriatric society.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Oct 6, 2009
Savoie case shines spotlight on Japan's 'disappeared dads'
M aking international (and to a lesser extent, national) news recently has been the Savoie child abduction case. Briefly: After a couple divorced in America, ex-wife Noriko Savoie absconded with their children to Japan. Then ex-husband Christopher, who had been awarded custody in the U.S., came to Japan to take the kids back. On Sept. 28 he tried to get the children into the American Consulate in Fukuoka, but was barred entry and arrested by the Japanese police for kidnapping.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Sep 1, 2009
Meet Mr. James, gaijin clown
If you want to sell stuff, it helps to have a recognizable mascot representing your company. Disney has Mickey Mouse, Sanrio Hello Kitty, Studio Ghibli Totoro. These imaginary characters grace many a product and ad campaign.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Aug 4, 2009
Unlike humans, swine flu is indiscriminate
The biggest news a few months ago, now affecting every prefecture in Japan, has blipped off our radar screens. For the time being.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Jul 7, 2009
Cops crack down with 'I pee' checks
My blog has been getting periodic pings about rumblings in Roppongi: Tokyo cops cleaning out pesky foreign touts before Olympic inspectors see them; the U.S. Embassy warning Americans to stay away from the area after reports of drugged drinks and thefts.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Jun 2, 2009
The issue that dares not speak its name
A few columns ago ("Toadies, Vultures, and Zombie Debates," March 3), I discussed how foreign apologists resuscitate dead-end discussions on racial discrimination. Promoting cultural relativity for their own ends, they peddle bigoted and obsolescent ideologies now impossible to justify in their societies of birth.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
May 19, 2009
IC you: bugging the alien
When the Japanese government first issued alien registration cards (aka gaijin cards) in 1952, it had one basic aim in mind: to track "foreigners" (at that time, mostly Korean and Taiwanese stripped of Japanese colonial citizenship) who decided to stay in postwar Japan.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
May 5, 2009
Fujimori gets his; Japan left shamed
News item: Alberto Fujimori, former president of Peru, was sentenced last month to 25 years in prison by a Peruvian court for connections to death squads.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Apr 7, 2009
'Golden parachutes' mark failure of race-based policy
Japan's employment situation has gotten pretty dire, especially for non-Japanese workers. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry reports that between last November and January, more than 9,000 foreigners asked the Hello Work unemployment agency for assistance — 11 times the figure for the same period a year earlier.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Mar 24, 2009
Punishing foreigners, exonerating Japanese
Examine any justice system and patterns emerge. For example, consider how Japan's policing system treats non-Japanese. Zeit Gist has discussed numerous times (July 8, 2008; Feb. 20 and Nov. 13, 2007; May 24, 2005; Jan. 13, 2004; Oct. 7, 2003) how police target and racially profile foreigners under anticrime and antiterrorism campaigns.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Mar 3, 2009
Of toadies, vultures and zombie debates
If there's one thing execrable in the marketplace of ideas, it's "zombie debates" — discussions long dead, exhumed by Dr. Frankensteins posing as serious debaters.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Feb 3, 2009
2channel: the bullies' forum
Bullying in Japan is a big problem. The victims have limited recourse. Too often they are told to suck it up and self-reflect. Or if they fight back, they get criticized for lashing out. It's a destructive dynamic, causing much misery and many a suicide.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Jan 6, 2009
Japan makes progress in 2009
As we start 2009, let's recharge the batteries by reviewing last year's good news. Here is my list of top human rights advancements for Japan in 2009, in ascending order:
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Dec 2, 2008
Hailing the tail end of Bush
Regarding Barack Obama's election as U.S. president, I welcome the groundswell of hope. It's about time. The past eight years have been, well, awkward for Americans overseas.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Nov 4, 2008
Truth: a delicate matter of give and take
Every activist and essayist must deal with a singular phenomenon when addressing the public: just how "truthful" one should be.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Oct 7, 2008
'Gaijin' mind-set is killing rural Japan
Allow me to conclude my trilogy of columns regarding the word "gaijin" this month by talking about the damage the concept does to Japanese society. That's right — damage to Japanese society.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Sep 2, 2008
The 'gaijin' debate: Arudou responds
Last month's column (Aug. 5) was on the word "gaijin." I made the case that it is a racist word, one that reinforces an "us-and-them" rubric toward foreigners and their children in Japan. It generated a lot of debate. Good. Thanks for your time.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Aug 5, 2008
Once a 'gaijin,' always a 'gaijin'
Gaijin. It seems we hear the word every day. For some, it's merely harmless shorthand for "gaikokujin" (foreigner). Even Wikipedia (that online wall for intellectual graffiti artists) had a section on "political correctness" that claimed illiterate and oversensitive Westerners had misunderstood the Japanese word.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jul 8, 2008
Beware the foreigner as guinea pig
Anywhere in the world, noncitizens have fewer legal rights than citizens. Japan's Supreme Court would agree: On June 2, in a landmark case granting citizenship to Japanese children of unmarried Philippines mothers, judges ruled that Japanese citizenship is necessary "for the protection of basic human rights."
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Jul 1, 2008
July forecast: rough, with ID checks mainly in the north
I have suggested before (Zeit Gist, Dec. 18, 2007) that Japan shouldn't host major international events. Unfettered police power and insufficient media scrutiny create a virtual police state, inconveniencing everyone.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation