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THE BLACKLIST AND GREENLIST OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIES The Whats and Whys By ARUDOU Debito Associate Professor, Hokkaido Information University Tokyo University, Monday, July 30, 2007. Download this Powerpoint Presentation at todai blacklist 073007 .ppt.

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Download this powerpoint presentation at www debito org todai blacklist 073007 ppt

THE BLACKLIST AND GREENLIST OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIESThe Whats and WhysBy ARUDOU DebitoAssociate Professor, Hokkaido Information UniversityTokyo University, Monday, July 30, 2007

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Academic apartheid in japan

Starting from Koizumi Yakumo (Lafcadio Hearn) 1903, fired from Tokyo Imperial U in favor of “real Japanese” Natsume Souseki.

Long history of hiring “foreign specialists” only temporarily as advisors on contracts.

Universities kept hiring all NJ academics as 外国人教師 on one-year contracts. Then lengthened in 1982 to 外国人教員 positions for 3 years, still contracted.

Full-time J academics hired from day one with non-contracted permanent tenure (任期のない雇用)

Academic Apartheid in Japan

Academic apartheid in japan1

Present day: Ivan Hall, CARTELS OF THE MIND, 1998: Most NJ academics on contracts, most J academics with tenure (任期のない雇用).

Proportion of J to NJ academics on contracts and tenure unknown. Visits by Ivan Hall to MOE (TADD, 1995) and Arudou Debito (2002), plus demands from politicians (参議院労働組合集会2005), provided no information.

Academic Apartheid in Japan

Unequal work conditions by nationality in japan

Unequal work conditions by nationality in Japan

  • NJ academics on contracts often get no bonus, no research budget, and sometimes even no Health Insurance or retirement pay.

  • Contracted NJ academics are also barred from committees and faculty meetings, sometimes even Internet access (Tokyo U Komaba Campus).

  • NJ work full time hours (often with double the workloads of J colleagues) under part-time employment terms.

Academic apartheid in japan2

Standard lifestyle of NJ academics: Work a few years in one place, then spend one year searching for a new job. Repeat cycle.

Due to employment age limits, older NJ (35+) have to rely on part-time work, trying to repay mortgages, pay children’s education, pay into 年金 system.

Any disagreement with working conditions, NJ are more easily fired, er, have their contract “nonrenewed”.

Contract workers are 労働者, yet J courts have not enforced labor laws to stop abuses. Judges say “contract was by mutual consent”, thus termination/term limitation was with NJ’s consent.

Academic Apartheid in Japan

University excuses for perpetual contracting

“National and Public Universities cannot treat NJ academics as equal civil servants due to Nationality Clause” (although MOE says unis can employ NJ under any status they choose (1982, 1997))

“MOE, local govt., or Immigration tells us we must contract NJ” (a lie)

“NJ academics won’t stay as long in Japan, won’t learn Japanese, cannot possibly be equal in qualification or ability in Japan” (this is untrue, mere prejudice).

“NJ don’t want to stay long-term in Japan--they’re just visiting scholars” (also untrue).

University excuses for perpetual contracting

Effects of the ninkisei system

Universities are not investing in better NJ faculty. NJs only temps.

NJ spending time searching for jobs instead of on research

NJ have insecure lifestyles, cannot get or pay mortgages, be part of academic community, or have control over their lives in Japan

NJ cannot just “go home”, as they have not paid into pension systems overseas

Universities have economic incentives to terminate contracts before NJ academic gets older and more expensive, creating “part-timer ghetto” for older professors.

Effects of the ninkisei system

Effects of the ninkisei system1

Now affecting J academics too. Tenure is being phased out in many universities.

Horrible job conditions (long hours, low pay, no security, illegal terms) being written into contracts (see Blacklist)

Japanese unis are falling behind internationally, unable to attract “brain drain” like, say, Australian and US unis (25% of Swiss academics are foreign-born. Economist Sept 8, 2005)

Effects of the ninkisei system

Genesis of the blacklist

Genesis of the BLACKLIST

  • 1995: 大学審議会 reports on possible 選択任期制法 for NJ in Private unis, as well as National and Public unis

  • Report hints that this system will be expanded to include J faculty as well.

  • Tenure is to be phased out in order to “活性化” J unis, thanks to “Tonegawa Shock”

Genesis of the blacklist1

Genesis of the BLACKLIST

  • I see my academic colleagues endure horrible labor abuses, insecure lifestyles, and broken families.

  • I decide to create BLACKLIST in 1998 to give employees advance information about bad unis, and offer them an outlet to report labor abuses.

  • I also create GREENLIST as a template for employers to improve their job conditions, and encourage NJ employees to go there.

Qualifications for blacklist

Must be primary source (job advertisement, or testimony by someone who will not be anonymous)

Must offer full-time contract employ-ment to NJ with no possibility of becoming tenured.

(Offering contracts to J and NJ faculty “equally” is not acceptable, as it is “equally bad”)

Qualifications for BLACKLIST

Qualifications for greenlist

Must be primary source (job advertisement, or testimony)

Must offer full-time non-contracted employment to NJ, or clear provable tenure track.

If university offers both perpetual contract and tenure systems, then university will be placed on both BLACK and GREEN lists

Avoid bad places, work at the good

Qualifications for GREENLIST

Why have we had tenure systems at universities for centuries


“To make sure that

if we get a Catholic Dean,

he doesn’t fire all the Protestants.”

Tenure ensures freedom of thought and research without fear of being fired

Tenure ensures freedom of thought and research, without fear of being fired.

If you make academic employment contract employment only, you get the system we have seen for NJ academics in Japan for generations now:

Some sample job conditions


Would you like to work at these places?

Courtesy of the BLACKLIST:

Akita international university private


Despite wanting PhDs (or the equivalent) for faculty, AIU offers 3-year contracted positions with no mention of any possibility of tenure, plus a heavy workload (10 to 15 hours per week, which means the latter amounts to 10 koma class periods), a four-month probationary period, and no retirement pay.

Source: Job advertisement in CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, Sept 2006

Asahikawa university private


Contract nonrenewal of NJ faculty after 12 years of service, for no reason (later stated in court as the need for "fresh gaijin"). Court and labor board decides that her firing was illegal. AU agrees in a court-sponsored settlement to reinstate her, then fires her again at the end of the school year.

Source: Asahikawa District and High Courts, and Supreme Court, 1997-2001

Chugoku gakuen university private


“Academic credentials, publications, experience, and student evaluations have had no bearing on our position. After seven one-year contracts, I have been presented with a terminal contract. Although I have been told my Japanese language skills are no problem, I was told directly by the president that I would never change salary or position no matter what level of Japanese proficiency I attained.”

Source: Richard Lemmer, faculty member at CGU, 2007

Hokkai gakuen university private


Nonrenewable 3 year contract for NJ with an MA or PhD, required to teach 10 lessons per week Monday to Saturday 9am - 9pm. Classes may include content-based EFL as well as all levels of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Materials development and other program-related activities will also be included in the duties. Salary: 4.4 million yen salary per year. Yet uni also offers similar position for Japanese with tenure and no need for PhD. Thus qualified foreigners are disposable and less-qualified Japanese are tenured.

Source: Job ad on JREC-IN July 2007 (salary information removed after Blacklisting)

Nagano prefectural college public


Despite stating that "the successful ("foreign native speaker of English") applicant has the same rights and duties as Japanese staff and will be required to participate in faculty meetings and committees", their job ad then goes on to say, "term of contract: 3 years renewable", demonstrating that the duties may be the same but the employment rights are not.

Source: Job advertisement from the university 2002

Kyoto institute of technology national


KIT offered a German-language teacher position to all nationalities--but with tenure for Japanese and contracts for foreigners: “Nationality does not matter, but in the case of foreigners the term of employment is three years renewable.” (「国籍、性別を問わない、但し外国人の場合は任期は3年(再任可)」. Conveniently, KIT omits this information from the English version of its job announcements. Although KIT requires the candidate to be proficient (堪能) in Japanese, then lies when it says that as a National university it must contract foreigners no matter what.

Source: Job advertisements in NASCIS and JALT, 2001 and 2002.

Tohoku university national


According to a position offered in 1999, a J candidate would be hired until retirement age of 63, but a NJ specifically must have contract renewals every three years. Even though the NJ candidate must undergo the job interview in Japanese. Thus the only barrier to tenured employment is not language but nationality. A 2003 job advertisement perpetuates the system, with a three-year contract (no mention of whether it is renewable or terminal, violating MOE guidelines and Labor Standards Law requiring full advance disclosure of job conditions).

Source: Job advertisements from the Tohoku University website in 1999 and 2003

Tsukuba university national


Institutes contracts for NJ faculty, but leaves it up to the Gakuchou and the "Discussion councils" (hyougikai) to individually determine the duration of employment. Has history of bad faith in negotiations, starting in April 1985 by cleaning out its longer-serving kyoushi by promising them promotion to Gaikokujin Kyouin, then effectively firing them. This situation had to be settled by litigation (cf. Drs Kang, Teele, and Sawada), and afterwards Dr Kang died a broken man at age 61. The school then charged his widow one million yen back rent for his office!

Source: Gifu University survey 1997, and Ivan Hall, CARTELS OF THE MIND, pg 107-117

Response to blacklist misleading job advertisements

Changing 外国人教師・教員 positions to 特別外国語教師(Kobe Shinwa Women’s U)、語学教師(Kitakyushu U), 特別嘱託教員 (Pref U of Kumamoto)

Asking for “native speakers” (英語を母語とする) instead of “foreigners” (Kochi U), 英語常勤講師 (Kwansei Gakuin U)

常勤外国人教員, and Shokutaku Full-Time English Language Instructors (SFLEI)--all contracts (Ritsumeikan)

Response to Blacklist: Misleading job advertisements

Greenlisted universities

Chitose Institute of Science and Technology (Private)

Kumamoto Gakuen University (Private)

Gakushuin University (Private)

Keio University (Private)

Saitama University (National)

Waseda University (Private)

Aoyama Gakuin University (Private)

Int’l Christian University (Private)

GREENLISTED Universities

And 26 others...

There are currently 103 blacklisted universities and rising


In these days of declining birthrates, does Japan hope to attract more international teachers and students?

You want better students? Hire better teachers under better job conditions.

What japan must do

What Japan must do

  • Abolish full-time perpetual contract work and institute an “up or out” tenure track system for all universities and all faculty.

  • Create a clear “tenure review” system with clear standards and appeal.

  • Create an “ombudsman” system (a la the Labor Standards Board) to monitor employment abuses, with oversight and punishment powers.

What japan must do1

What Japan must do

  • Abolish age caps on employment.

  • Establish a clear and consistent system for evaluation of qualification, research, and promotion.

  • Stop confusing “活性化” with economics.

  • Have the MOE open its records of employment status to outside scrutiny, and announce that it will enforce equal non-contracted tenure employment systems regardless of nationality.

10 q for nj to ask j uni employees before taking a job

Is this a National, Public, or Private U?

Is this position 常勤 or 非常勤?

Is there a contract, and if so, how long, and is renewal capped?

Is there a possibility for non-contracted tenured employment?

How many NJ already have tenure at your U?

How many koma per week do I teach?

May I attend faculty meetings?

Is my 雇用保険 and 健康保険 paid?

Will I get a Bonus and Retirement Pay?

Will I get the same benefits given other J full-time employees?

10 Q for NJ to ask J uni employees before taking a job

Moral of the story

Moral of the story:

If you treat people badly, the truly talented people will stay away.

Do you want Japan’s universities to stagnate?

Or do you want to attract talent?

Moral of the story1

Moral of the story:

If you want good people, treat them well.

That means employing them well.

Do so, and Japan’s educational system will thrive.

Its reputation will get better, and more international students will attend.

Moral of the story2

Moral of the story:

People already know, thanks to information sites such as the BLACKLIST, that Japan is not a nice place for academics to work.

They cannot make a future here.

Change that. Or suffer the consequences.

Because migration of labor is the future.

Face it.



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