fl20090324zga

THE ZEIT GIST – Debito Arudou sees growing evidence of judicial double standards!  Did you know?: Under the Foreign Registry Law (Article 18) only foreigners can be arrested, fined up to ¥200,000 and incarcerated for up to a year just for not carrying ID 24-7!

Examine any justice system and patterns emerge. For example, consider how Japan’s policing system treats non-Japanese. Zeit Gist has discussed numerous times (July 8, 2008Feb. 20 and Nov. 13, 2007May 24, 2005Jan. 13, 2004Oct. 7, 2003) how police target and racially profile foreigners under anticrime and antiterrorism campaigns.

But the bias goes beyond cops and into criminal prosecution, with Japanese courts treating suspects differently according to nationality. We’ve already tackled the subject of how judges discount testimony from foreigners (Zeit Gist, Aug. 14, 2007), but here’s the emerging pattern: If you are a Japanese committing a crime toward a non-Japanese, you tend to get off lightly. Vice versa and you “haven’t a Chinaman’s chance,” as it were.

Non-Japanese are particularly disadvantaged because: 1) There is no certified quality control for court and investigative language interpretation; 2) public prosecutors can have negative attitudes toward non-Japanese; and 3) non-Japanese cannot get bail (hoshaku).Click here to read the rest of the Japan Times article. Be sure to leave your feedback here at Black Tokyo? I am curious to know your opinion of the article! Feel free to copy and paste your feedback from other websites.

Debito Arudou is coauthor of the “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants.” A version of this essay with links to sources can be found at www.debito.org. Send comments on this issue to community@japantimes.co.jp

CHRIS MacKENZIE ILLUSTRATION