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  1. Download this powerpoint presentation at: fortakaandmana121107.ppt

  2. “FOR TAKA AND MANA”Race and Japan’s JudiciaryA primer by ARUDOU DebitoAssociate Professor, Hokkaido Information University

  3. FOR AMY AND ANNA (Amy (left) and Anna Sugawara Aldwinckle 1996)

  4. DISCLAIMER I am not a qualified legal scholar. I am an activist. And my research and conclusions in this field are purposefully colored by my activism. That acknowledged, let’s continue:

  5. Trends I am seeing in the J judiciary • Criminal Court cases where if it is NJ crime committed against Japanese, heavy punishment. But if it is Japanese on NJ crime, or NJ-NJ crime, lax judicial standards. • Civil Court cases where NJ winning is a crapshoot. Not a precedent based system. • Family Court cases where NJ winning is practically nonexistent, and NJ plaintiffs are at a severe disadvantage.

  6. Criminal Court Cases • Idubor Case (2006-7): Nigerian yesterday sentenced to 3 years for alleged J rape despite no material evidence. • Lucie Blackman Case (2006): J defendant acquitted of her rape, murder (life conviction on other rapes, murder).

  7. Criminal Court Cases • Valentine Case (2003-7): Police exonerated of responsibility despite denying medical care to injured Nigerian prisoner in their custody, who wound up crippled. • Jane Doe Case (2002-7): Police refuse to charge anyone in alleged NJ rape of Australian woman, exonerated of police harassment of woman claimant.

  8. Uncertified standards for courtroom/police translations. Confessions extracted through unrecorded, torturous procedures, including language barrier. “NJ shouldn’t be here anyway if they’re going to cause trouble” factor. Convictions at 99% for everyone, but no chance of bail for NJ (seen as flight risk). Meaning freer hand for police interrogations. NJ being singled out for racial profiling by police .html NJ can commit more crimes than J (ex: J cannot commit visa violations, and NJ can be jailed long enough to run out visa, or have it cancelled) NJ disadvantages in Criminal Court Cases

  9. Civil Court Cases • Ana Bortz Case (1998-9): Brazilian refused entry to “Japanese Only” jewelry store wins under UN treaty. workingpapers/wp88.html • Otaru Onsens Case (1999-2005): American, German, and naturalized J (guess who) win against “Japanese Only” bathhouse, lose against do-nothing Otaru City govt.

  10. Civil Court Cases • McGowan Case (2004-6): African-American refused entry into eyeglass store, loses on technicality in lower court, wins on appeal. • Kim Doe Case (2003-7): Zainichi Korean wins against exclusionary landlord after rental contract signed.

  11. Civil Court Cases • U Hoden Case (2000-2007): Daughter of naturalized Chinese and J bullied to the point of medically-certified PTSD, civil suit against parents of bullies. Decision due Dec 22, 2007.

  12. Not Japanese citizens, so kokumin grey protections of laws and Constitution can be exploited by defense/judges. Problems put down to cultural issues, misunderstandings. “Rational Discrimi-nation” holds water as legal argument. Dearth of multilingual legal counsel. Pressure to settle (wakai), avoid legal precedent or judgments. Intense mediations not always explained. NJ disadvantages in Civil Court Cases

  13. Family Court Cases • Murray Wood Case: Plaintiff wins in Canadian courts, loses in J courts. • Not a single precedent of NJ being awarded custody. • More cases at • Lawyer friend’s opinion: judiciary wants to keep J kids here due to low birth rate.

  14. NJ have no koseki (Family Registry), so not recognized as family unit to award children to. NJ visas often dependent on marital status; can’t stay after divorce. No real punishment for perjury--lies rampant, and native speakers are better liars. Mediation process (choutei) long, arduous, no legal force, and must damn partner thedivorce.html No joint custody, visitation rights & child support unenforced. Disadvantages for NJ in Family Court Cases

  15. CONCLUSIONS • Japan’s divorce rate (95% of seekers are women) is now skyrocketing--rose 6.1% in April 2007 alone. • Post-divorce Japan is a land of Deadbeat Dads and Fortress Moms. • Seeking protection through the Japanese judiciary will probably not work for NJ, so consider alternative methods.

  16. CONCLUSIONS • Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child--not signed by Japan. But doesn’t matter. Is administrative thing, obfuscates--signing is merely housekeeping. • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child--Sec 9--Japan has already signed. Guarantees visitation to both parents. • Japan’s judiciary is not independent. You can’t enforce laws properly and impartially when judges are employees of the State. • Not so much a matter of the parents’ rights--the child’s rights are being violated. Too often overlooked

  17. More on this and other ISBN 4 7503 9018 6 English version, Japanese version ISBN 4 7503 9001 9 THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ATTENDING THIS PRESENTATION!

  18. Download this powerpoint presentation at: fortakaandmana121107.ppt