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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
Jun 3, 2008
Good news from grass roots
Reader Rodney in Vancouver recently e-mailed: "I've often found your articles informative and useful, but they tend to take a tone of complaint. Please tell us about some face-to-face, grassroots efforts that have helped make Japanese more considerate and respectful of those who are different."
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
May 27, 2008
Arbitrary rulings equal bad PR
Getting to know Japan is hard work: a complicated language, cultural esoterica, mixed messages about prudent paths to take. People who find their way around and assimilate deserve kudos and respect.
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
May 6, 2008
Activism vs. academia
Back in January, I was a panelist at Waseda University's Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration, invited to give an "activist's perspective" to an academic crowd.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Apr 22, 2008
Summit wicked this way comes
You've probably heard about July's G8 Summit in Toyako, in my home prefecture of Hokkaido. In case you're unfamiliar with the event, here's a primer from the Foreign Affairs Ministry:
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Apr 1, 2008
Public forums, spinning wheels
A friend sent me a Yomiuri article (Feb. 10) about a neighborhood forum in Kanazawa. Its title: "Citizens consider how to live together with foreigners."
COMMUNITY / Issues / JUST BE CAUSE
Mar 4, 2008
Dusting off the A-word
Causes are what activists take up as a matter of course. But in Japan, just doing that is a challenge, given the general aversion towards activism here.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Dec 18, 2007
The myopic state we're in
We all notice it eventually: how nice individual Japanese people are, yet how cold — even discriminatory — officialdom is toward non-Japanese (NJ). This dichotomy is often passed off as something "cultural" (a category people tend to assign anything they can't understand), but recent events have demonstrated there is in fact a grand design. This design is visible in government policies and public rhetoric, hard-wiring the public into fearing and blaming foreigners.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Nov 13, 2007
'Gaijin card' checks spread as police deputize the nation
In the good old days, very few Japanese knew about Alien Registration Cards — you know, those wallet-size documents all non-Japanese residents must carry 24/7 or face arrest and incarceration.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Oct 23, 2007
Human rights survey stinks
On Aug. 25, the Japanese government released findings from a Cabinet poll conducted every four years. Called the "Public Survey on the Defense of Human Rights" ( www8.cao.go.jp/survey/h19/h19-jinken ), it sparked media attention with some apparently good news.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Sep 4, 2007
The scapegoating of Asa
The Japan Sumo Association has recently tag-teamed with the Japanese media to lay into Asashoryu, the Mongolian sumo champ who has all but dominated the sport for the past few years.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Aug 28, 2007
The blame game
We live in interesting times. With the shortage and high cost of domestic labor, the Japanese government has brought over record numbers of cheap foreign workers. Even though whole industrial sectors now depend on foreign labor, few publicly accept the symbiosis as permanent. Instead, foreigners are being blamed for Japan's problems.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Aug 14, 2007
Abuse, racism, lost evidence deny justice in Valentine case
In 1999, a Brazilian resident of Japan named Milton Higaki was involved in an accident that killed a schoolgirl. Rather than face justice in Japan, he fled to Brazil fearing "discrimination as a foreigner in Japanese courts."
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jul 17, 2007
Schools single out foreign roots
Since 1990, when Japan started allowing factories to easily import foreign labor, the number of registered non-Japanese (NJ) residents has nearly doubled to more than 2 million.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Mar 20, 2007
Demise of crime magazine historic
Making headlines worldwide last month was the publication of a magazine entitled "Kyogaku no Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu ("Shocking Foreigner crime: the Underground File"). On sale at major Japanese bookstores and convenience stores nationwide, Gaijin Hanzai (GH) attributed criminality to nationality, and depicted foreigners as "dangerous" and "evil."
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Feb 20, 2007
Upping the fear factor
The government and media would have you believe that Japan has lost its mantle as a safe country. Apparently we live amidst a spree of heinous crimes. Accurate? Not very, according to a new academic study. But before we get to that, let's take stock of one alleged cause of this "crime wave," this decade's boogeyman, the foreign criminal.
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Nov 7, 2006
Pulling the wool
I s the world's second-largest economy, Japan feels it deserves the respect and privilege accorded the club of rich countries.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jul 11, 2006
A way forward?
Last month, Diet member and Senior Vice Minister of Justice Taro Kono publicized a new action plan for immigration.
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Jun 27, 2006
Righting a wrong
In July 2005, Doudou Diene, a special representative of the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights, came to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese government.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
May 2, 2006
How to kill a bill
On Oct. 12, 2005, the Tottori Prefectural Assembly approved Japan's first human rights ordinance, a local law forbidding and punishing racial discrimination.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE ZEIT GIST
Feb 7, 2006
Twisted legal logic deals rights blow to foreigners
Steve McGowan, an African-American resident of Kyoto, sued an eyeglass shop in Daito City, Osaka Prefecture, for refusing him entry in 2004 on the basis of the color of his skin.

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