Justice, I believe, should be impartial and I don’t want to be wrong when hailing Japan’s justice system as fair and just. As I have read in the pages of The Japan Times, numerous Japanese companies and associations have been found committing transgressions vis-a-vis non-Japanese employees and trainees, among them Tepco, Creative Net, Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Panasonic. They were punished in such ways as having their accreditation revoked for five years, issued with improvement orders and forced to apologize to the public. Well, those are just wrist slaps.
I’m a foreigner, an investor and chief executive of a young firm arrested for assisting six foreign nationals in employment activities not authorized by their work permits. Like the above companies, I cooperated with investigations, showed remorse and pleaded guilty in court.
After 168 days in detention and bail rejected for the fourth time, I was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail and an additional fine of ¥1.5 million (which I paid) for violating immigration control laws. I also lost accreditation to hire foreign nationals. Even though my sentence was suspended, extension of my investor visa was refused and instead I was issued a deportation order with only 21 days to liquidate my assets and leave Japan.
I’m not big, neither is my company. I’ve only invested about ¥270 million in domestic production costs. I had employed some 20 Japanese workers in the past and operated five branches in four prefectures (Chiba, Ibaraki, Tokyo and Okinawa).
As a concert promoter seeking to bridge cultures and promote Japan’s cities, I’ve recruited artists from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and Jamaica (including Flo Rida, Redfoo, Sean Kingston, OMI, Tyga, Soulja Boy and others) to perform live music in multiple cities like Aomori, Okinawa, Fukuoka, Osaka, Saitama, Kanagawa and Tokyo. Like Tepco, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Panasonic and others, I had violated immigration control laws, but my punishment was heavy and draconian. Should some firms receive preferential treatment under the law? It might be too early for answers I guess, as we are yet to see criminal charges brought against these powerful companies.
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.
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