Racism, police budgets, reports

Regarding LukeCorrigan’s July 14 letter, “Fueling a sensationalist pitch,” from The Japan Times Online: Corrigan (in response to Debito Arudou’s July 8 Community Page article, “Police ‘foreign crime wave’ falsehoods fuel racism“) seems to be of the view that racists and people who oppose racism are as bad as each other, and that if people didn’t try to fight back and keep us informed, the problem would simply go away.

He rightly says that police forces everywhere are racist, but the conclusion he draws makes no sense. Either he thinks that all police forces should be given carte blanche to stir up racial hatred to inflate their budgets, or what? It would seem that he believes that since racism exists everywhere (though it’s fought against in most other developed countries), it should be given free rein in Japan.

Perhaps that makes sense to those whose brains are addled by samurai stories and sexist manga, but not in the real world.

jim makin

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • zer0_0zor0

    You seem to be ignoring the fact that there were distortions in that article, and that the propensity for some journalists to sensationalize such distortions is counterproductive.

    Not only doesn’t such sensationalized copy fail to address actual issues that may relate to racism, but it tends to create or reinforce divisions that keep people separate instead of facilitating their working together to solve common problems.

    • Toolonggone

      Well, the article fails to provide a link between NPA and an anonymous group making hostile posters, but it properly addresses the problem with police investigation on crimes–that is giving people a false alarm that foreign crimes are on the rise. That is NOT distortion. It is NPA who is responsible for that. And I highly doubt that people are willing to solve the problem together regarding their mentality, since people in Japan tend to be nonplused on the issue.

      • Sam Gilman

        Actually, Debito was wrong to claim the police were concealing decline in crimes by foreigners as I demonstrated (with links to NPA documents) in the comments thread. They state the decline quite clearly.

        Your repetition of Debito’s misrepresentation illustrates why people get so frustrated with his poor reliability when it comes to material written in Japanese. A lot of readers don’t have the ability to check for themselves.

      • Toolonggone

        Please show me that Debito says police were ‘concealing’ the decline of
        foreign crimes from his direct quote in his JBC article.

        He made it very clear that NPA indeed admitted the declining trend, didn’t

        And what do I have anything to do with his alleged “misrepresentation”???
        I don’t get it.

      • Sam Gilman

        No, Debito only referred to NPA figures, not their words for the decline in foreign crime. He alleges they’re trying to give the impression in the face of these falls, that there is a foreign crimewave. He says:

        That’s why the NPA has found it increasingly difficult to maintain its claims of a foreign crime wave. So, to keep up appearances, the agency has resorted to statistical jiggery-pokery.

        For example, look again at the NPA chart. The time frame has been expanded to 30 years; in previous annual reports, it covered just a decade. By stretching the parameters, the overall chart depicts a comparative rise rather than a small peak before a precipitous drop.

        Except that, as I showed, (did you even have the courtesy to look back at my comments?), the same 30 year period was used for the same graph in earlier reports. He then says:

        The most creative NPA rejig is arguing that NJ crime has been “stopped at a high plateau” (takadomari no jōtai) — even if that “plateau” is downward-sloping.

        I searched the whole npa.go.jp domain for this phrase along with “gaikokujin”. The two appear together in three documents. Two are about road casualty figures. The third is from the general foreign crime report of five years ago and is specifically to do with burglaries, and is accurate.

        On the other hand, as I showed, recent NPA reports explicitly state in words that overall, foreign crime has been decreasing. And they state it in Japanese AND English. At the beginning of the reports.

        To be honest, what’s as depressing as Debito’s frequent errors in handling Japanese source material is the way some people accept what he says entirely uncritically, even as others point out errors. It’s a kind of faith-based politics.

      • Toolonggone

        Sorry, I’m still confused. If the NPA was alleged to ‘conceal’ the decline of crime by foreigners, as you claim Debito says so, then, how come would he and anyone be able to get all the figures from their reports? Why are all these figures out to the public?

        And if the NPA made it clear in the documents that foreign crime is declining, then why are they still creating visuals and posters targeting foreigners as potential suspects for crimes apart from ordinary Japanese citizens? That totally goes against what they actually say in their official reports.

      • Sam Gilman

        Toolonggone, I agree, it is confusing. However, I think the confusion will disappear once you understand the following sentence:

        Debito Arudou is not a reliable witness to reality.

        It’s that simple. The NPA are not, on the evidence, covering up the decline at all. The thing is, Debito habitually paints a paranoid and fantastical picture of Japan as a place where westerners are terribly oppressed. Those two posters? One of them (the really bad one that talks about the dangers of violent crime foreigners) has absolutely nothing to do with the police. Yes, you read that correctly: it’s not from the police at all. It is from a nasty right-wing blog. It’s not even a poster that has been put up anywhere. This was pointed out in the comments too. It’s not there as evidence. It’s there to insinuate.

        The other poster is a straightforward poster about crimes involving immigration law and was put up at the most appropriate place for that: an immigration office. It makes no claims about the level of foreign crime at all.

        There is a reason why so many people criticised that article.