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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Freedom Of Expression Group Snubbed By Japan

Believe it or not, there are some countries where the freedom of speech or freedom of expression are not inherent values in society. But Japan being one of them?

Case in point is an article my pal Vinnie sent me from the October 11, 2015 edition of the Japan Times—the Japan Constitution won't protect revolting foreigners—a tongue-in-cheek headline to a story written by Colin P.A. Jones who still has one less name than myself, J.A.M.S. Joseph.

Feel free to read the whole article HERE.

I'm going to surmise, because I have a friend and Jones who doesn't like the click-throughs that take him to other websites:

In Jones' article (the writer, not the friend), he points out that just because a foreigner is a foreigner, the foreigner is a G.O.D. (gaijin on display), but is certainly not a God. Okay, I said that, not him.

But he does note that, to wit, expressing oneself at a demonstration could provide Japan with an opportunity to either revoke or deny a work Visa. Owtch. There is no evidence that that is what happened, but there is evidence to suggest it happened. Damn double-speak.

And it all comes down to some very vague writing in Japan's Constitution, rife with political double-speak that makes it seem totally legit while being totally bogus.

Here's a translated line that speaks volumes:

Rights of the Constitution extend to foreign nationals except which by their nature are understood to address Japanese nationals only.

WTF does that mean?

The Japanese Constitution will protect foreigners (with Visas), except when when their actions can negatively impact real Japanese.

It's sooooo vague!

Vinnie says that it means that 'any law can be subject to the above interpretation, because NOTHING is specified.'

Vinnie continues: "There are specific immigration laws aimed at foreigners. Then there are laws that you MIGHT think apply to you, BUT any government official could decide otherwise."

Thanks, Vinnie. You explained that so even an idiot like myself can understand it.

Basically, it seems that when it comes to gaijin, the laws are fluid.

According to Article 21 of the Japanese Constitution, there is a guaranteed freedom of assembly, association, speech, press and all other forms of expression.

The Constitution, however, does not expressly protect the right to receive and impart information, the Japan Supreme Court has decided that the right to information is protected by Article 21 (of the Constitution), which further prohibits censorship and provides that secrecy of communication shall not be violated.

So… the Constitution was vague, but the law provided a proper answer.

But does that apply to foreigners? No…

"Andrew, how do you like being in Japan?"
"Mmmmf, Mmg, Mff! Mmmmm!"

It's probably better to suppress oneself in Japan, anyhow… if you think radicals are feared in, say France, they are double feared in Japan - especially when foreigners are involved.

"WTF did he say?"

There is a London-based group calling itself Article 19, who promote and defend freedom of expression and information globally.

To quote: "Our vision is a world in which all people can speak freely, actively engage in public life and express themselves without fear or discrimination."

It sounds wonderful… except when someone is allowed to spew out hatred.

Recall that in the U.S., with it's freedom of expression that it is perfectly fine for hate groups to speak in public, just as it is perfectly fine for those who hate hate groups to protest against them.

Hey, as long as everyone is talking - no violence will ever occur. Riiiiight.

Still, by allowing everyone the right to express themselves, you avoid government censorship via Big Brother or China or whatever.

Seriously… my blog sometimes does well as China is suddenly allowed to read it, or it does meh, as China suddenly denies access to its curious citizens.

Denying access to the Internet stops people from learning too much about what they could be missing. Like free porn. 

Anyhow, Japan, at the last minute, canceled the visit of United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of expression David Kaye, citing it was unable to schedule meetings with officials.

Probably a smart move on Japan's part, less it be found out.

Article 19 executive director Thomas Hughes states:

“ARTICLE 19 is surprised that the Japanese government has been unwilling to meet the UN’s independent expert during his review of the country’s compliance with international norms around freedom of expression, particularly in the context of the growing criticism leveled at Japan in recent years.”

Apparently members of Article 19 had recently visited Japan and met with a range of officials, academics, journalists, lawyers and members of civil society.

Those people raised numerous concerns about freedom of expression and information in Japan, including the pressure on mainstream media to remain uncritical of government policies.

Article 19 says that threats to freedom of expression and information in Japan appear to be on the increase, including threats to broadcasters of parliamentary investigations and the withdrawal of licenses under the Broadcasting Act; expanding secrecy following the adoption of the 2014 Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets; and proposed revisions to the Constitution which would limit freedom of expression and association.


Sure, the State Secrecy Act from Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) poses threats to news reporting and press freedoms, and while Japanese government officials have intimidated Japanese reporters in the past, the new law provides the politicians more legal power to intimidate.

A muzzle on freedom of the press? Plus Abe wants to change the Japanese Constitution? Plus he wants Japan to have it's own military, a right taken away by the Allied Forces after WWII?

I'm not saying there are parallels to other would-be dictators (CoughCoughHitlerCough), because that would be foolish for me as a neutral blogger to state.

Anyhow, ARTICLE 19 would like to ask the Japanese government to reconsider its cancellation of the David Kaye’s visit and schedule face to face discussions at the earliest opportunity.

I'm not saying anything is imminent, but this could be my last ever Rife blog. If it is, we all know why. If not, it's because those fools in the Japanese government do not see the influence I wield.


I'm kidding of course. They know...

It would be wise for Article 19 to recall, however, that it is Japan's right to meet or not meet with anyone it chooses, and to do so at a date and time that is convenient to both parties. It's Japan's right to freedom of expression.

Owtch! Someone just stepped on my toes!

Now... Japan did NOT state that it would never meet with that UN gentleman, only that it was unable to do so at this time.

Conversely… WTF, Japan!? Like NO ONE could make time to talk to someone from the UN?

What are you afraid of? Oh… riiiiight.

The blogger doth protest too much, methinks,
Andrew Joseph

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