Friday, July 15, 2005

Sometimes the Jokes Write Themselves (Extended Schoolyard Sissyfight Mix)

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara is being sued for "insulting the French language." Apparently Mr. Ishihara, on Oct. 19, said "I have to say that it should be no surprise that French is disqualified as an international language because French is a language which cannot count numbers." Quite predictably this upset the 2 or 3 people who actually (claim to) make a living teaching French in Japan. In their lawsuit they claim that the governor's remarks "give a false impression that French is a poor language, which is not acceptable by international standards [...]"

All in a Day's Work...

Mr. Doudou Diene of Senegal has been to and now left Japan. Mr. Diene, at the end of his nine-day visit said that discrimination in Japan is "deep and profound", that government leaders cannot recognize the depth of the problem, and that the Japanese public had a "strong xenophobic drive." Yawn... Did I mention that Mr. Diene is the UN's special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance? Well, he is.

Friday, July 01, 2005

How the World Works...

According to Japan Today "A U.N. expert on racism and discrimination will visit Japan in July for the first time [...]"

Doudou Diene of Senegal, special rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, will arrive in Japan this weekend for his fact-finding mission through July 12.

I wonder how he fits all that onto his business card... From Mr. Diene:

"As a world power in an era of globalization, Japan has to expand to the outside world. But its society is still closed, spiritually and intellectually centered," he said, adding such conflicting positions could create tensions that would lead to racism and discrimination.

I can't really say why, but I'm reminded of a factory I used to work in as a kid back in the 'old country.' About once a year a safety inspector used to come to the place to make sure us workin' stiffs weren't being forced to work in unsafe conditions. He always came while we were eating lunch...
Anyway, according to the article,
Diene will focus on minorities of Korean and Chinese descent, while also looking into the situation that migrants from the rest of Asia, the Arab world and Africa find themselves in as they settle in Japan.

Mmm, no minority groups in Japan missing in that list... (Sometimes, just sometimes, I understand the American loathing of the UN...)

"It is never easy for any government to accept an outside eye in their policies and programs," he said. "It is for me to convince them I am here to listen and understand [...]"

He'd make a good 'safety inspector'...