Asahi : Immigration chief blames his own in trafficking

The real problem behind Japan's dismal anti-human trafficking record are ``weak-kneed'' immigration officials who bend to the whims of politicians and businesses that hire foreign women for illicit purposes, the chief of the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau said.

The government will tighten requirements this month for entertainment visas, which are often issued to women who end up forced to work in the sex industry. But Hidenori Sakanaka indicated in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun that the problem does not rest solely with visa procedures.

``The problem is that there are businesses that make profits by exploiting women and they are connected to lawmakers,'' Sakanaka said, referring to the surge in such illegal workers since the mid-1990s.

``I cannot deny that immigration officials gradually lost their zeal to investigate and in their dealings have become weak-kneed,'' Sakanaka said. ``I have myself been harassed since 1995, with one politician telling me: `You are not popular among (entertainment) business operators. You may not be able to remain in Tokyo.'''

He said lawmakers would call him after immigration officials raided bars suspected of hiring foreign women for jobs other than as professional entertainers-the only work entertainment visas permit.
When I was referring to corrupted Japanese politicians in other threads, I was thinking about stuff like this. But that's just a "little detail" compared to other things I have read. And it's as endemic as it can get among top officials. As the article mention, low-level officials (or comapny staff) are very docile or "weak-kneed" and just say everything high-ranking politicians or business people tell them. That is the usual image of the "gentle and obedient Japanese", so that many foreigners can't imagine corruption in high level. But all the scum ends up in politics or as yakuza. These are the people who really control the country, and it's pretty ugly (hardly better than in the States).