Tag Archives: Japan

Japan News | Migrants & Refugees

Death of Vietnamese man in Japanese immigration center renews concerns about immigration protocols
  • Van Huan Nguyen died in the East Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki prefecture northeast of Tokyo.
  • Nguyen had originally come to Japan as one of more than 11,000 refugees the country took in in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, though the cause of his detention has not been stated.
  • Nguyen’s death is one of more than a dozen in immigration detention facilities since 2006 and comes as Japan’s at times suspicious and unwelcoming treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers—including poor medical care in detention, familial separation, and its provisional release conditions—has faced renewed international scrutiny.
Read

Vietnamese detainee dies in Japan’s immigration center: sources” (Reuters | March 2017)

Japan forces a harsh choice on children of migrant families” (Reuters | November 2016)

Inmates on hunger strike at Japanese immigration detention centre” (Reuters | July 2016)

(Image Credit: Yuyu Shino/Reuters)

Japan News | Koreans & Chinese

Growing scandal over ultra-nationalist kindergarten exposes battle over education in Japan
  • The Tsukamoto Kindergarten has drawn attention for promoting notions of Japanese “purity” and “uniformity” and racist statements made about Koreans and Chinese.
  • Ideological education has become a growing point of contention between liberals and conservatives, with the former worrying that so-called “traditional education” indoctrinates young children with the same ultranationalist spirit that fueled Japanese imperial expansion and led to World War II.
  • The school sits at the center of an expanding political scandal involving Japan’s First Lady and a suspicious deal that allowed the land on which the school was built to be purchased from the government at a steep discount.
Read

Nationalist Osaka preschool draws heat for distributing slurs against Koreans and Chinese” (The Japan Times | February 2017)

Bigotry and Fraud Scandal at Kindergarten Linked to Japan’s First Lady” (The New York Times | February 2017)

Shinzo Abe and wife under pressure over ties to ultra-nationalist school” (The Guardian | February 2017)

(Image Credit: Ha Kwiyeon/Reuters, via The New York Times)

Japan Feature | Refugees & Immigrants

The Narrow Lane of Life for Refugees in Japan

“The truth is I have lived in Japan for such a long time. … All I want to do is work and carry out a decent life.”

Despite international pressure, Japan has allowed only a trickle of politically persecuted and war-fleeing migrants to make their way into the country, with migrants only accounting for 2% of the population. The government’s economy-first stance has led some to question political blindness to the relationship between immigration and the economy, and Japan’s declining birth rate and aging population have led pro-immigration advocates and the business community alike to push for a relaxation of immigration policies.

The New York Times takes a closer look at the situation facing Kurdish refugees in the context of Japan’s political and cultural resistance to immigration. Visa-free travel made Japan an alluring destination as violence in the 1990s led many Turkish Kurds to look abroad for relief from conflict, but arrivals have found significant resistance to demographic change in the country. The same fears that drive anti-immigrant sentiment globally have been amplified in the largely ethnically homogeneous echo chamber of Japan: ignorance of cultural backgrounds, limited economic prospects, and hyperpolicing have created a narrow lane for Kurds to thrive.

Read more:
Ethnic Kurds Find Haven, but No Home, in Insular Japan” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Ko Sasaki/The New York Times)

Japan Feature | Transgender

The Ambivalence of Pathologizing Transgenderism

Bucking the trend in many developed countries to depathologize the mind-body incongruence at the heart of trans identity, Japan has seen resistance to international efforts to eliminate medical classifications of transgenderism as a disorder. A medical diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) has at times been necessary to secure the rights to the myriad legal and medical changes necessary to confirm an individual’s gender identity in the eyes of the state.

Much as disability advocates have fought to secure recognition, acceptance, and accommodation of those with disabilities and chronic illnesses in society, some Japanese trans activists and medical professionals have advocated for the continued recognition of GID and the accommodations necessary for trans people to live healthy lives. BuzzFeed News takes a look at the modern history of transgender visibility in Japan, the ambivalent reaction to declassification attempts, and the broader shift in medicine from corrective to adaptive approaches to addressing “illness” into society.

Read:
Why Transgender People In Japan Prefer To Be Told They Have A ‘Disorder’” (BuzzFeed News)

Related:
First GID doctors certified in Japan” (The Japan Times)

(Image Credit:  Kate Ferro/BuzzFeed News)

Japan News | People with Disabilities

Mass stabbing attack at facility for the disabled in Japan leaves at least 19 dead, dozens wounded
  • The Tsukui Yamayuri-en care facility in Sagamihara, an hour west of Tokyo, came under attack in the early morning hours by a former employee.
  • The knife attack was reportedly the worst mass killing in the country in decades, with additional reports of as many as 45 wounded.
  • The attacker allegedly indicated an anti-disability motive upon turning himself in.

Read more:
Man fatally stabs 15, wounds 45 in predawn attack at Kanagawa care facility, is arrested” (The Japan Times)
Japan knife attack: 15 killed and dozens wounded in stabbing” (The Guardian)
Knife Attack Kills at Least 15 in Tokyo Suburb” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: via The Japan Times)

Citations | Refugee Education

Citations
Education for Refugees, from Preschool to Professorship

Global emergencies like war, natural disaster, and health pandemics have uprooted families and disrupted education at all levels as displaced students have been deprived of access to schools. Students in early childhood, primary, secondary, and higher education as well as teachers, professors, and other educational professionals have experienced delayed educational and professional development during times of crisis, disabling dreams and prospects for the future. Whether in Malaysia, Greece, or Lebanon, displaced communities have struggled to adjust to lost livelihoods, new cultures, and uncertain futures.

As the average duration of displacement has dramatically increased over the last three decades, international humanitarian organizations have been pressed to develop long-term programs and partnerships to replace short-term emergency educational provision. These challenges have been compounded by the disproportionate burden of education in emergencies shouldered by developing countries, where refugee populations vastly outnumber those in high-income countries. Over time, the educational pipeline has come to look less like a pipe than a funnel, with progressive exclusion and decreasing resources constraining opportunity as refugee children age. Workarounds developed in earlier stages have at times installed barriers for students at more advanced education stages as credentialing standardization and selective admissions disadvantage students from newly developed, temporary, and informal educational institutions outside of the national curriculum.

From connected learning hubs in refugee camps in Kenya to elementary classrooms in Canada, technological innovation and international coordination have worked to connect displaced students to well-resourced institutions and support educational continuity through crises. Meanwhile, new momentum in the development of transnational platforms for educational financing, advising, and service delivery has reinvigorated the global education community and increased commitment to education for all, regardless of circumstance. Here is a look at select recent news, features, and open research on and resources for global refugee education and scholar protection: Continue reading Citations | Refugee Education

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Commemorating the day when homosexuality was de-pathologized by the World Health Organization in 1990, the 13th-annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT) stands as an occasion for global mobilization towards LGBT visibility and security. The day, like many global celebrations, is also one many governments choose to speak out on global human rights and minority security, announcing initiatives to support their LGBT citizens and international projects.

Even today, ongoing disagreements between nations over LGBT rights have prompted diplomatic rows and roadblocks to international cooperation, including the recent objection of 51 Muslim countries to the participation of LGBT groups in a U.N. AIDS forum in June. The push to extinguish homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia at all geographic levels remains important to the global mobility of LGBT people worldwide.

Here are highlights from IDAHOT 2016:

Africa & the Middle East


Video Credit: Collectif Arc-en-Ciel

LGBT Nigerians have continued wrestling with conflicting legal messages, with the recent passage of the landmark HIV Anti-Discrimination Act doing little to undo the effects of a 2014 anti-homosexuality law.

While a moratorium on LGBT criminalization is officially in place in Malawi, individuals are subject to entrenched marginalization and stigmatization in healthcare services, with a national referendum on LGBT rights having stalled.

The Gay and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) organized events for IDAHOT in Bulawayo, focusing on mental health as ongoing social and healthcare difficulties plague the community.

Though homosexuality remains criminalized in Tunisia, activists have achieved increased visibility and pushed for legal reform amidst ongoing discrimination.

Israel reaffirmed its commitment to LGBT Israelis, announcing funding to support an emergency shelter for LGBT youth and a hostel for trans people who have recently undergone gender confirmation surgery.

Days before IDAHOT, activists staged a sit-in outside of a Beirut gendarmerie, protesting Lebanon‘s anti-homosexuality legal holdovers from French occupation.  Similarly, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) issued an appeal to the Lebanese government to decriminalize same-sex relations, arguing for recognition of homosexuality’s presence within the natural variation of human sexuality.

The Americas


Video Credit: teleSUR

U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement of support as his administration lended its voice to a national debate over the bathroom rights of trans people.

In Canada, PM Justin Trudeau announced an anti-discrimination bill protecting trans security as advocates organized a demonstration for trans healthcare rights following the firebombing of a trans health clinic.

Across Latin America, important gains in same-sex partnership and family rights and gender identity healthcare and legal protections have heartened LGBT Latin Americans, but the region continues to have some of the highest reported rates of violence against the LGBT community in the world.

LGBT organizations held cultural and political events throughout Argentina to highlight conditions facing the Argentine LGBT community, call for an anti-discrimination law, and press for federal recognition of the International Day Against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, as the day is known.

Cuba celebrated the day fresh off Pride events in Havana, where Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro, led a parade of thousands through the city streets.

Asia Pacific


Video Credit: Out for Australia

As the country continues contentious battles including the push for marriage equality and erasure of “gay panic” legal defenses, rainbow flags and celebrations appeared across Australia, including over police stations in Canberra, in the streets of Brisbane, and in the senior-care facilities of Tasmania. In Victoria, officials announced a retreat for Aboriginal gender minorities to be held later in the year.

In China, a study conducted by the U.N. Development Programme, Peking University, and the Beijing LGBT Center, the largest of its kind to date, was released revealing that only 5% of LGBTI Chinese are fully out at school and work, but also showed encouraging levels of acceptance of LGBTI people among China’s youth. The head of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission expressed support for anti-discrimination legislation at IDAHOT festivities in the city.

In Fiji, former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau joined festivities at the French Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the island’s LGBTQI community.

Advocates took to op-ed columns in India to confront ongoing transphobia, reflect on gay representation in film, and highlight everyday homophobia in urban life.

A tug-of-war over LGBT rights between Islamic fundamentalists and pro-diversity moderates in Indonesia has led to mixed messages about LGBT security in the nation, spurring anti-discrimination protests.

A recent Human Rights Watch report on anti-LGBT bullying in Japan served as a reminder of the purpose of the day, highlighting rampant anti-LGBT sentiment even as the government has initiated broad efforts to combat bullying in schools.

Europe & Eurasia


Video Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The divergent prospects for LGBTI people across Europe, from Western Europe’s distinctive commitment to the protection of gender diversity to ongoing persecution in the East, was further confirmed through a UNESCO report highlighting anti-LGBT violence in schools released as global education ministers met in Paris.

Rainbow colors appeared in the shopping district of Cyprus‘s capital as 22 organizations came together to organize events to launch the country’s third Pride Festival, focusing on the need to increase legal recognition of both sexual and gender minorities in the country.

In Gibraltar, organizers canceled event plans in support of action on marriage equality legislation currently under consideration, arguing that holding a rally in front of the Parliament as uncertainty prevails would undermine pressure on MPs.

Kosovo‘s first Pride march brought out hundreds from the LGBT community to Pristina, including the U.S. and U.K. ambassadors.

Organizations in Luxembourg planned a silent march to call attention to the plight of LGBTI individuals worldwide and call for increased international protections (including asylum).

Organizers in Serbia took the day to announce the date of this year’s Pride parade (September 18) and address concerns of homophobia as right-wing parliamentary representation has increased.

Advocates, allies, and diplomats gathered around the rainbow flag raised at the US Embassy in Latvia.

On the island of Gozo in Malta, NGO leaders celebrated gender diversity in the country.

After advocates scrapped plans for IDAHOT activities in Georgia due to security concerns, a group of activists were arrested for painting pro-LGBT graffiti on administrative buildings. A “Family Day” protest against LGBT rights and visibility, the third such anti-LGBT demonstration, brought together members of Georgia’s conservative Orthodox community and international religious groups.

In the U.K., London’s new mayor promised to make the city a more just place for its LGBT residents as a rainbow flag flew over the Mayor’s Office.

(Image Credit: EPA, via The Straits Times)