Showing posts from October, 2006

Recent events ... refugees, trafficking and the run for the cure.

Some of the events i recently joined moved me to think a lot about a number of different problems we face and how important strategy is for dealing with complex issues. At first glance, all are quite different - breast cancer, trafficking in persons and refugee support. But they all showed the need for nonprofit NGO work and for collaboration with other actors as well as the need for the creation of a professionlised civil society sector in Japan.

1. Information dissemination to the public is necessary for the development of support and social mobilization

2. Self-help oriented programs are necessary - providing hand outs alone is not effective.

3. Professional advocacy work needs to happen from local to international levels

4. The people affected need to organize themselves to have an impact and alter the relations of power.

IRC event in Tokyo: systems and support for refugees and asylees

On Sat Oct 21 I joined an excellent event coordinated by JAR (Japan Association of Refugees) supported by CGP and other refugee support organizations in Japan

There were two speakers from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) who introduced the refugee and asylee system in the US and then outlined the types of services the and other groups provided for people new to the US. I thought the IRC speakers had to cover too many issues in too short a time - if they had been the only speakers (with Q & A) for 3 hours they would have had just about enough time to go over the key issues.

It can not be assumed that audience members even understand what the terms refugee and asylum mean. This came out in one of the questions from the audience. someone asked about the skill criteria for the determination of refugee or asylum status. hmm. i thought. that means the person would not understand the difference between immigrants, migrants, and refugees. the fact that refuge is given on humanit…

Citizens academy - series on trafficking

There are so many events these days being run under the general theme of trafficking in persons. (TIP). on Oct 20 I attended the second in a series of 3 talks at the Citizens Academy in Azabu.

The topic was to be on the lack of security faced by people in Japan who are trafficked. The first hour deal with very basic issues like what it TIP, what international regular exist and an intro to related Japanese laws. some of the interesting points of the talk included the rights that people have - regardless of citizenship. i guess i was surprised that some people did not realise this - but it seems these days this question has come in many places.

i would have like to know deeper and more specific issues facing different people. it was a bit too general and did not really address the different issues different people face.

maybe it was just supposed to be a review focusing on women from the Philippines?
it was mostly a review - maybe more like and intensive Japanese lesson.

i often get sto…

Kansai discrimination case ruling

I do not know too much about this case i was surprised to find out how few people knew that this was even going on. Below is an intro to the case but i suggest you check out the links for more details.

It seemed like a straight forward case. An African-American resident of Kyoto, Steve McGowan was refused entry into an eyeglass shop in 2004. This happened in Daito City, Osaka Prefecture and Steve sued the shop, G. style, for refusing him entry based on the color of his skin. This past week he won only a partial victory when the Osaka High Court ruled that the defendant's action was illegal. However the court ruled that it was not racially biased. This despite owners admitted bigotry. Things are not as clear as they seem - I hope to get in touch with him this week for some comments and ideas for people aroudn the country who face similar circumstances.

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006 Plaintiff gets redress but not for racial bias High court tells shopkeeper with avowed hatred of blacks to…

"Introducing Your Culture Day"

I do like to list events here generally but i thought this was worth listing.

-- EVENT: "Introducing Your Culture Day" - An international festival
-- DATE & TIME: Sunday, October 28 from 13:00 - 16:00
-- PARTICIPATING EMBASSIES: India, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal,
Philippines, Sweden and the U.S.

"Introducing Your Culture Day" is organzied for the children of Nonohana-no-ie -
The "Wildflower House" - a home for 40 Japanese and non-Japanese children aged 2-18, who are victims of child abuse and neglect.

Volunteers are encouraged to come up with their own preferred ways to
help out this event. Some are performing music, others are preparing food or will play
games with the children with their own cultural themes. There will be an outside stage for
performers. Mongolian dancers will perform the traditional dance this year.

They are looking for help with the US booth and also still looking for other groups to do thier own c…

Sayama international solidarity campaign

IMADR has just lauched a new site to draw attention to the Sayama case. It has not only information about the case and the story from Kazuo Ishikawa himself but it also has an interactive section where you can follow his movements and supposed events of the day.

An introduction to the case:
On May 1, 1963, in Sayama City, north of Tokyo, a female high school student disappeared on her way home from school. That evening, a ransom note was delivered to her home. she was later foudn dead. On May 23, 1963, Kazuo Ishikawa, a man of Buraku origin from the town of Sayama, north of Tokyo, was convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. The sentence was later commuted to life and has been in prison since 1963.

For many people an interesting part about his story might be the fact that he did not even know he was Buraku - that he thought the problems and harrasment his family faced were due to being poor. His story is a must read.

The links and info on what you can do are also go…

Recent events ... CSR and Global Festa

CSR : What does this mean?
When i go to nonprofit events it seems to be quite different (focus on the responsibility to community problems and issues) from what I hear people from companies talking about. (compliance with the law and being nice to customers)

This is more than structural and more than the for-profit not-for-profit stance isn't it? isn't the basic mission oriented nature of one sector vs. the lack of mission on the other?

Global Festa was fun and i did get to meet a bunch of people as well as run to familiar faces.
I ran into people from ACE, PWJ, EAJ, IMADR, artists without borders, JSRPD and JEN.
and met people from IVC, Shaplaneer, ICA, IOM and Oxfam.

The one thing i did forget was to eat before going. The food choice was again the same fried anything or curry chicken. Would be nice to have an organic and/or vegetarian food stall.

Trafficking in persons forum

I have attended so many interesting event recently - the one I would like to write about today is the Asia Foudnations sympoisum on Trafficking which was held at UNU.

It was very informative and I think it also meade clear what the weak point of the movement are here. for thsoe of us that attend many events on this topic it was good to hear more than just how "kowai so" victims are and and the support needed for them. the IMADR events so far have been the only ones i have seen which look at the rights of the people involved not just the support services and their sad stories.

It was welcome to finally hear questions and discussion on going after traffickers and the necessity of tough prosecution of the brokers in both the countries that send and receive the people who are trafficked.

Another area brought up by the people from the UK was the need for both societal awareness and mobilization of the public. Without the public knowing more about the issue and mobilizing them, what …