Sunday, June 11, 2006

Shinagawa Station

Congratulations everyone! It's June again, and according to this great big banner in full public view, that means it's the month for cracking down on illegal foreign workers! (Sign courtesy of no less than the immigration office). While I don't entirely disagree with the sentiment - workers should have the correct permission to stay, and those that break the immigration laws should be dealt with in some way (and that goes doubly for human traffickers and those that intentionally employ illegals) - I can't help but feel this kind of alarmist approach is going to do little more than invite human rights abuses. Visas are serious issues, but they're also ultimately administrative procedures - not the sort of thing you would normally try to whip up public fear with. I have to wonder how many people walking past as I took this picture were wondering to themselves "I wonder if he's here legally?"

My questions. What are they really trying to achieve with this public show of xenophobia? And more importantly, what are they trying to divert attention away from? What are they up to?

Update Here is a link to full details of the campaign on the Ministry of Justice webpage. I will endeavour to translate the highlights in due course.


  1. Ha. Shinagawa station, that brings back memories. It was the first station I ever visited in Japan.


  2. NO f*** WONDER!!!

    I was at Shinagawa station today and I got randomly stopped by the police. I couldn't believe it - they were like "why are you in Japan, for work?" as if my briefcase and suit didn't f*** give it away. They asked to see my PASSPORT as if i carry that around all the time - but luckily the reason I was in Shinagawa was for immigration. Showed them my visa was processing, they went "ah" and backed off. THREE guys. What a f*** joke.

    Seriously, do I look like an illegal worker? I like to think that I was stopped mainly because the police thought there wouldn't be a problem with me, so they wouldn't have to do any real work.

  3. Face it, "Illegal Imigration" is a ralling cry for the racists of the world. It gives them an forum to openly blame the countries woes on foriegners and minorites, without actualy having to do anything about it.

  4. Illegal immigration is certainly a rallying cry in the United States just now.

  5. I can understand that there is a problem for Japan as illegals from China and Korea are a problem for them, but this kind of xeonphobia is somewhat typical of Japan. Unfortunately, it is also typical of other developed nations that should know better **cough**
    United States, Australia **cough** who have less than exemplary records recently on human rights as pertaining to immigration.

  6. Well said, Rabidstout.

  7. This banner appears to be yet another triumph of form over substance, another avenue for some bureaucrat with a budget to do something without really doing anything. Not that immigration isn't a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. But considering the language and placement of the sign it looks like another silly Japanese boondoggle. Your tax yen hard at work.