Protecting Human Rights is Dangerous!
(Click the images to enlarge)
COMMENTS (by Debito Arudou)
Problems with the above:
- At the above company, the boss had sufficient reason to fire the employee (disobeying instructions) and the public baths want to avoid problems with organized crime. It's not unreasonable to assume that if Human Rights Committee heard about this, they would examine the circumstances very carefully. Where is the writer getting the idea that they will only listen to one side and will not check their facts? This is alarmism, plain and simple.
- When we look at the bigoted landlord and the stoneheaded school teacher, can you honestly say they did nothing wrong? Is it really okay to refuse accommodation to all foreigners on the grounds of a prior unrelated Chinese tenant? And is it really okay for a teacher to foster his own prejudices about women onto a female student in front of her impressionable classmates? Shouldn't somebody official be out there to encourage them to rethink their behavior?
COMMENTS (by Debito Arudou)
- Kim Jong-Il is a public figure, not a random individual. Freedom of speech more than allows for the free criticism of public figures. Where is the evidence that the Human Rights Committee cannot or will not make this very obvious distinction? Again. this is alarmism, plain and simple.
COMMENTS (by Debito Arudou)
- I would like the writer to explain the actual reasons for the old guy being under investigation. You've got to do that, otherwise this is an unrealistic portrayal. To illustrate: In the above cartoon, try replacing "Human Rights Committee Members" with "Police". Now an "investigation by police" without the reason made clear would be seen as an abuse of police power. And it would become an argument against the very existence of the Police Forces. Very few people would make that argument, of course, since we generally give the police the benefit of the doubt in its pursuit of social order. And in any case, the accused has the right to know what he's accused of. Point is, you just can't omit the criminal charge from the story. By doing so, you can jump to all manner of logical extremes. "Omigod! Police can do that too. So now I oppose the police exercising their legal powers!" etc etc. This disingenuous lack of attempt to strike a balance is by definition propagandizing.
- Further, although a foreigner started the fight in the comic above, what if I claim it's normally the other way round? (There are Japanese that deliberately target foreigners for fights.) There's no definitive evidence either way. But that's not the main problem: Why in every instance in the above cartoon are foreigners depicted as the bad guys? The vast majority of foreigners in Japan are peacefully living their lives. This cartoon is baiting the reader and depicting its own prejudices. In fact, the cartoon itself is a great example of why we need anti-discrimination legislation.
- It goes without saying of course, but if anybody--regardless of nationality--does something bad, why not simply report it to the police? Lock up the criminals, fine. But don't assume a person is more likely to be a criminal because he is a foreigner. Anyway, this logic is unrelated to the existence of a Protection of Human Rights bill.
Update After reading some of the many comments here, I would like to clarify that I am not in any way trying to imply that the views expressed in the manga are representative of the majority of the Japanese population. There are ring-wing extremists in any country. My reason for putting it up is that it unwittingly brings to light issues many Japanese people would have been previously unaware of, making a powerful case for the very laws it's opposing.
So for example, if I started complaining that without a human rights law, landlords can freely refuse minorities based entirely on superficial factors (skin colour, country of origin etc.) without the person in question having committed any wrong or given any reason to indicate they will, they assume you're talking extremist nonsense. They really do. "In theory sure, but if you talk to them and show them you're a serious individual with a proper job, then surely they'll change their minds!" they say (and no, this doesn't work in the majority of cases). On the other hand, when the people that are opposed to introducing such a law claim that landlords will no longer be able to freely refuse accommodation to minorities based on something that somebody else did, it makes the point abundantly clear that this is real and is happening enough to be considered common.
Of course, a lot of it is just scaremongering. The second and third page don't involve the Human Rights Committee at all, merely the fear that the writer assumes will be associated with their presence. In all of the examples shown, if the person had simply said "fine, call them and we'll let them sort it out" then it would lose much of its propoganda punch. In the case of the landlord, they would more likely instruct him that legally he can't refuse a tenant on the stated grounds. He lets the guy stay, the guy pays his rent on time each month, everybody's happy. If the guy doesn't pay his rent or causes too much of a nuisance in the neighbourhood, then take measures to have him evicted and keep the 2 month security deposit (on top of the 2 month's rent "gift money") to sort it out. Bear in mind that Japanese are just as likely to cause problems.
Likewise in the example of the schoolgirl, let's say she didn't like the teacher so decided to contact the police and say he sexually harassed her. Bearing in mind this is Japan and not the tabloids, the police may choose not to investigate at all based purely on the word of one person. If they do, and fail to find any other evidence, the case will be dropped. It may even be dropped if they do find the evidence. The investigation will cause embarassment to the teacher, and most likely problems for the girl when it all blows over. All of this can currently happen. At the same time, none of this though is an effective argument against having a police force.