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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Post Japan's backward legal system

    A backward legal system

    Japan's foremost claim to backwardness must come from its legal (and political) system. Due to cultural differences or not, Japanese laws often make the headlines for their lack of humanism and poor protection of fundamental human rights.

    The US has put Japan on a watch list over human trafficking, ranking it at the same level as countries like India, Laos or Zimbabwe.

    Laws regarding sexual harassment or women's right to continue working after marriage are all fairly new in Japan. But there is much more that remains to be done.

    Marriage

    Regarding marriage especially, Japan has a few issues to address. At present, divorced couples cannot legally share the custody of their children. Only one parent is allowed to keep (all) the children, and it is in 90% of the cases the mother. As a result, kidnapping from the other parent are not infequent, and rarely taken care of by the police, as they see it as private disputes.

    Worse is that in case of international marriages, Japan is one of the few developed countries that has refused to sign the 1980 Hague Convention promising to return abducted children to the rightful custody of an overseas parent. So if a Western man married to a Japanese woman (or vice versa) has his child(ren) suddenly taken to Japan by his (ex-)spouse, there is no legal way for him to recover them. Even if he had received the custody after a divorce in his country, it will not apply in Japan, while it would in most other (developed) countries. (see => Foreign parents usually lose their children to Japanese ex-spouse)

    Still regarding marriage, Japanese almost never make pre-nuptial agreements to settle possible issues such as money or the charge of the children in case of divorce, eventhough Japan's divorce rate is as high as countries like Germany. This however is due to the culture rather than the law itself.

    In case of divorce, women cannot remarry before 6 months, while men can remarry the same day. The explanation is that women could be pregnant without knowing it. That would have made sense 60 years ago, but DNA tests can now easily be made, and anyhow, the chances for a divorced woman to be pregnant of her ex-husband are very low, and that won't change much to remain single or remarry.

    Adoption and surrogate mothers

    One more concern is that Japanerse lawmakers and judges do not want to recognize the genetic parents of children born from a surrogate mother (=> see article). Their pretext is that it could destabilize the traditional family unit. But how ? Is it better to have a child that is genetically ours, but not legally ours ? Adoption could be an easy solution elsewhere, but Japanese are generally reluctant to adopt for some reason. The few adoptions happening in Japan are inside the same family (eg. one's nephew or niece, if their parents die).

    Government's responsibility

    In the West, governments have the role to educate people and keep society safe and liveable. Japan has a rather biased approach of the matter.

    First of all, we could point the finger at corrupt politicians who, as all Japanese will tell you, care only about power and money and have no ideals or desire to work for the people.

    Racism & immigration

    In these circumstances, it is no wonder that racism and discrimination are not only legal, but almost encouraged by the authorities. Tokyo's governor, Shintaro Ishihara, who has been re-elected for a second term, it openly racist, criticising foreigners for Japan's woes and rise in crime (which really lacks of discernment. => check Crimes committed by foreigners in Japan), and want them out of Japan. Then, there are no laws condemning signs such as "foreigners and dogs not allowed", and even the police post signs like "beware of foreigners" in public places. But that is only natural as we are in Japan ! The government does not have any scrupules or even conscience of why this is not acceptable.

    Japan's attitude toward foreigners is also reflected in its immigration policy. Japan welcomes less political refugees than almost any Western country (=> see Japan is not an asylum country) and rarely grants citizenship, even to second or third generation Koeans or Chinese born and raised in Japan. Some people will claim that Japan is not traditionally an immigration country, like the USA or Australia. But that misses completely the point, as European countries do not have a history of accepting lots of immigrants either.

    Most immigrants in Europe came from ex-colonies inn the 1950's, 60's and 70's, and both Korea, China, as well as several South-East Asian countries are ex-Japanes colonies as well. Germany, which is almost as racially homogenous as Japan, and which had almost no colonies (anyway taken over by Britain and France in 1918), is the country which accepts the most (non-European) immigrants and refugees in Europe. Even better, it now grants German citizenship to anybody born there. However, Japan denies Japanese nationality even to children of Japanese born outside Japan or foreigners born in Japan. Until recently, only children born from a Japanese father could claim Japanese nationality. This law has been changed due to foreign pressures though.

    Conservatism, prostitution & pornography

    Some people will say that Japan is just conservative, and shouldn't be blamed for that. I believe that Japan is conservative for what it wants (i.e. immigration, marriage, etc.). When it comes to pornography and prostitution, Japan is far from being conservative. Prostitution has "officially" been prohibited due to Western criticism, but authorities turn a blind eye on it, as the numerous "soaplands" or "massage parlours" witness.

    Pornography is not only legal, it is barely regulated. Any of Japan's ubiquitous convenience store has a dozens of porn magazines, and even other magazines and newspapers usually have pornography in it (otherwise it wouldn't sell). There is no separation between pornographic material and children's comics. In video shops, Walt Disney movies are side-by-side with erotic videos. Some will claim that cultural sensitivities are different, and nudity does not offend Japanese. There is some truth in in it, but that remains unbelievable for Westerners.

    The police

    The Japanese police has legally the right to arrest someone just on the grounds of suspicion of crime, without evidence, and keep them in the police station for up to 20 days. The arrested does not have the right to contact anybody, not even a lawyer, their family or work. Consequently, people mistakenly arrested (and there has been lots of cases) may have to endure interrogation and bad treatments for 3 weeks, lose their job as they don't show up without excuse during that period, and eventually have their life ruined, just because of the police's error or abuse.

    Protectionism

    Japan has been protectionist for times immemorial. During the Edo Era, the country was almost completely closed to foreign (= Western) powers. In recent times, Japan still keep high tariffs on imported products, and until the turn of the millenium, foreign companies (except some US corporations) could not legally establish themselves in Japan, so as not to compete with Japanese firms. But Japan didn't see any problem in opening car factories in Europe, North America or south-East Asia. Nowadays, it is still difficult for foreign companies to enter the Japanese market. The only way is to be associated, merge or take over a Japanese company. A few cases have occured so far, like Renault's take over of Nissan, or Vodaphone's acquisition of J-phone. But the change of law only aimed at bringing foreign capital to Japan in order to fight the economic crisis. When all goes well, Japan closes itself while seeling its products abroad. Unbeatable tactics, but how long should other countries tolerate such unequalities ?

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  2. #2
    Regular Member infinitijapan's Avatar
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    Question

    this is very sad... i have read so many bad things about this but when i talked about it to my friend he said that wasnt really true but ya very sad... so wat this basicly tells me is that i cannot really become a japanese citizen? how would i live there then tell me how this works...and i hate that law with the police im going on a trip with my band to japan next year and im afraid some cop will arrest us because we are long haired foreign musicians and think were doing drugs and stuff... isnt there some law against the police that could stop them from arresting you for no reason? i thought i saw something about it once?... well japan has a terrible government i think... very primitive...
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    Wow, I never realized that all of those laws existed. I think that some of them deffinatley need to be changed or just thrown out.

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    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Worse is that in case of international marriages, Japan is one of the few developed countries that has refused to sign the 1980 Hague Convention promising to return abducted children to the rightful custody of an overseas parent. So if a Western man married to a Japanese woman (or vice versa) has his child(ren) suddenly taken to Japan by his (ex-)spouse, there is no legal way for him to recover them.
    This is tragic. About the only thing a foreign spouse can do is spend a lot of time and money getting the ex-spouse on the Interpol list of child abductors (if the child was taken over international borders). I know only of one case where the husband (non-Japanese) pulled this off, and I have no idea how many times it has been tried. However, being on the Interpol list, in theory, means that if the mother ever tries to get a visa or visits one of the countries
    that participates with Interpol, her name will come up as having a warrant out for her arrest. If the process works, she will be detained until the problem gets sorted out. In short, she can never leave Japan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    However, Japan denies Japanese nationality even to children of Japanese born outside Japan or foreigners born in Japan.
    Last I heard, Japan does grant citizenship to children born outside Japan, but there is, of course - this is Japan - paperwork to file. This is the first I have heard that citizenship is summarily denied. Are there any good links spelling this out?
    "It's a d**n poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word."


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    *censored* Foxtrot Uniform's Avatar
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    Sad, isn't it. The reason why many of these laws have not changed or gotten ridden of is because the LDP (uber-conservatives political party) has always had the most power in the government. Until this changes, these laws will not change.

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    I don't believe that you can just blame it on the LDP. Would other parties be less protectionist for instance? I think so. The route that has been followed in Japan is a super-keynesian and mercantilistic one. This is slowly changing IMO, but it takes time, and I doubt that it has to do with one single party.

  7. #7
    gokarosama
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    ...sources for this information ́H

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    Go to shopping PopCulturePooka's Avatar
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    Interesting read.
    I do agree mor sources would ahve been good.

    I agree with your views on most things except this:


    Pornography is not only legal, it is barely regulated. Any of Japan's ubiquitous convenience store has a dozens of porn magazines, and even other magazines and newspapers usually have pornography in it (otherwise it wouldn't sell). There is no separation between pornographic material and children's comics. In video shops, Walt Disney movies are side-by-side with erotic videos. Some will claim that cultural sensitivities are different, and nudity does not offend Japanese. There is some truth in in it, but that remains unbelievable for Westerners.
    You phrase it as if having pornography be legal is bad? Or am I misreading?

    Also I find a slight erroneous point in the video shop thing. Every video shop I went to in Japan, iclduing tiny dingy mum and pop joints, had their porn and AV videos in a seperate area, usually fairly obviously the adult movies section and closedof with a curtain or tunnel. Not 'next to the Walt Disney movies'.

  9. #9
    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    This is sad, but Japan is flawed just like any other nation.
    "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  10. #10
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie
    This is sad, but Japan is flawed just like any other nation.
    Don't be fooled by living in a particularily flawed nation, many Western European countries are not nearly as bad as that - even on other respects.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstHousePooka
    You phrase it as if having pornography be legal is bad? Or am I misreading?
    What I meant was that there was no minimu age to buy porn magazine in a combini (to the best of my knowledge), while people can't buy alcohol and tobacco before 20. What's that for a logic ?

    Also I find a slight erroneous point in the video shop thing. Every video shop I went to in Japan, iclduing tiny dingy mum and pop joints, had their porn and AV videos in a seperate area, usually fairly obviously the adult movies section and closedof with a curtain or tunnel. Not 'next to the Walt Disney movies'.
    Those I went to had a separate section for most porn (more "hard core"), but not for the "erotic" videos (which anyway show nude girls on the cover) that were next to the Disney movies.

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    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    A backward legal system

    Japan's foremost claim to backwardness must come from its legal (and political) system. Due to cultural differences or not, Japanese laws often make the headlines for their lack of humanism and poor protection of fundamental human rights.

    The US has put Japan on a watch list over human trafficking, ranking it at the same level as countries like India, Laos or Zimbabwe.
    That's rich. Coming from a country which has the third highest executions, behind Saudi Arabia and China. In some areas has people earining less than they do in some third world countries. Big companies polluting areas because their CEO is in the government and getting away with it. I'm not going to continue or else I will start to rant
    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...
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    Regular Member Shooter452's Avatar
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    I do not like the Japanese legal system. I was compelled to deal with it while I was on Okinawa, and it scared the feces out of me with its seeming capriciousness and its utter lack of protections for the accused.

    Nevertheless I think that it is presumptious of the US Gov't to declare the Japanese as unjust. They are a different culture. Let me say that again, in case y'all weren't listening: they are a different culture. This should be evident from the fact that they look different, talk different and correspondingly think different from us.

    The criminal justice system for Japan works. Ask me how I know! Because they ain't changed it. If they did not like it, it would change. And since the crime figures in Japan (although on the rise) have yet to approach our own, I sense a certain measure of hypocrisy. This "one size fits all" approach to law is more than that, it might even be risky. I can think of no better way to throw a culture into chaos.

    I would not want to live under a system of justice like that of the Japanese. Nor would I recommend that they consider adopting that legal system with which we are comfortable.

    Facilis descensus Averno

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    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What I meant was that there was no minimu age to buy porn magazine in a combini (to the best of my knowledge), while people can't buy alcohol and tobacco before 20. What's that for a logic ?
    Tobacco & alcohol are actually bad for your health, while porn is not. OK, you could say porn is bad for your mental health, but then again, that's not really proven. Or is it? What's more, I doubt that Walt Disney movies are that much better for a kid's mental health.

    Those I went to had a separate section for most porn (more "hard core"), but not for the "erotic" videos (which anyway show nude girls on the cover) that were next to the Disney movies.
    Now you sound almost like a US American. Nudity is natural, there is absolutely no problem if kids see some boobs. (Or even if they see the real action, IMO)

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    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    Just because Japan is a different culture that does make their legal system no more unjust. And the reason why they probably haven't changed is because they may think their legal system is good.

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    Go to shopping PopCulturePooka's Avatar
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    Haha American bashing.
    You know how hyporcritical half of you sound saying you cant speak negatively about Japan, all the while bashing the US, when YOU AREN'T EVEN AMERICANS?

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    Go to shopping PopCulturePooka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius
    That's rich. Coming from a country which has the third highest executions, behind Saudi Arabia and China.
    Japan executes too. And with Japans 'stellar' and 'fair' (Haha) legal system thats a very scary idea.

    Big companies polluting areas because their CEO is in the government and getting away with it.
    This one made me laugh, again this applies so so beautifully to Japanese big business as well. The companies get away with murder and there are very very few Environmrntal Protection Laws in Japan.

  18. #18
    Go to shopping PopCulturePooka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What I meant was that there was no minimu age to buy porn magazine in a combini (to the best of my knowledge), while people can't buy alcohol and tobacco before 20. What's that for a logic ?
    Ahh ok. Most stores I visitied had 18+ signs on their porn area, but likely a token gesture.
    There was also the half arsed public measure last year where porn mags had to be sealed in the shops.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shooter452
    Nevertheless I think that it is presumptious of the US Gov't to declare the Japanese as unjust. They are a different culture. Let me say that again, in case y'all weren't listening: they are a different culture. This should be evident from the fact that they look different, talk different and correspondingly think different from us.
    If they wanna be big world players with the world they take criticism from others, simple enough.

    The criminal justice system for Japan works. Ask me how I know! Because they ain't changed it. If they did not like it, it would change. And since the crime figures in Japan (although on the rise) have yet to approach our own, I sense a certain measure of hypocrisy.
    I disagree. Japan has a very ingrained culutural belief in keeping system, even if broken because thats the 'way' something is done. Heaven and hell need to be moved to invoke change in Japanese public services and systems and the legal justice system, which is a majorly flawed beast, is one such example. Don't tell me a justice system which automatically prejudices against foreigners, which allows Judges to freely admit their judgements are made only to keep their 99% guilty record and which accused people have very little rights 'works'.


    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    Tobacco & alcohol are actually bad for your health, while porn is not. OK, you could say porn is bad for your mental health, but then again, that's not really proven. Or is it? What's more, I doubt that Walt Disney movies are that much better for a kid's mental health.
    Have you watched a selection of Japanese porn?
    Can you tell me, with a straight face, that exposing children to a lot of Japanese porn, with themes like rape, bondage, groping, forced sex, humiliation, degradation, simulated pedophilia (all of which are very common in Japanese poen) etc are not harmful to children?
    That Disney movies are worse than exposing a kid to that?


    Now you sound almost like a US American. Nudity is natural, there is absolutely no problem if kids see some boobs. (Or even if they see the real action, IMO)
    Disagree here too. The way Japanese erotic videos and porn are packaged almost universally treat women as subservient and 'controlled' sex objects. Japan has a big problem with the way women are treated and viewed by some men and exposing boys to media which depicts women as subservient objects only useful for sex will not help fix that issue. Its deeper than the 'nudity is natural' track and goes into cultural perceptions of women.

  19. #19
    gokarosama
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    Let me play Devil's Advocate for a bit.

    The fact that the first post appears as an uncredited article in the "Society" section of this site (albeit with a kinder, gentler title in the hyperlink) is what gets me.

    My original question still stands. Source material for the information? Is it mostly anecdotal? Based on personal experience? Did the information come from an online source? A book? Are you quoting someone else? All of this is relevant, as this website, for better or worse, is seen by many--particularly those who do not live in Japan and have only a mild interest in the country--as itself a real "source" of factual information. Mixing facts (such as a Forbes list of Who's who among businessmen) with editorialising (such as this post) without labeling which is which is, to me, irresponsible.

    The very tone of the first post is at best derogatory, at worst self-serving paternalism. "Backward?" Quite a few presumptions there.

    I won't insult the original poster (who obviously has a lot of knowledge about Japan) by going point-by-point through his post. In fact I could probably find many areas where I agree with the writer. A leeeeeetle bit more self-awareness and, perhaps, a caveat (in the Society Section) that these articles are either complete editorializing (read: opinion) or at the very least some kind of bibliography where one can look up the information asserted. "As far as I know" is fine as a backup if you're just telling someone whether the convenience store sells Ginger Ale or not, but not when posting a diatribe which would be considered libelous if stated about a person.

    Let the counter-argument begin.

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    Wow..I never knew that their legal system is like that. For me, that's quite scary, but it shows how reality is.

  21. #21
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gokarosama
    The fact that the first post appears as an uncredited article in the "Society" section of this site (albeit with a kinder, gentler title in the hyperlink) is what gets me.
    Sorry, I thought it was clear that I was the author, as I linked to the forum post were it was originally posted. I have also edited the title of the article (although it was meant to catch the attention).

    My original question still stands. Source material for the information? Is it mostly anecdotal? Based on personal experience? Did the information come from an online source? A book? Are you quoting someone else?
    Didn't you follow the various links in each paragraph citing the source of the information ? There is also a lot of information gathered from discussing these issues with Japanese lawyers, busines people or from reading/watching the news everyday.

    A leeeeeetle bit more self-awareness
    What do you mean by slef-awareness ? Do you want to compare point by point with every European country so as to definitely prove that Japan is backward from a legal point of view ?

    and, perhaps, a caveat (in the Society Section) that these articles are either complete editorializing (read: opinion) or at the very least some kind of bibliography where one can look up the information asserted.
    I have just added that now, in addition to the links already provided in the text. The problem is that there are very few books treating of these issues. The sources regarding the legislation are very easy to find though. Just read the Japanese code of laws and see for yourself how the law is. You could also compare it with Western countries' laws. It is also easy to double-check whether Japan signed the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or not by doing a quick internet search.

  22. #22
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstHousePooka
    Have you watched a selection of Japanese porn?
    Can you tell me, with a straight face, that exposing children to a lot of Japanese porn, with themes like rape, bondage, groping, forced sex, humiliation, degradation, simulated pedophilia (all of which are very common in Japanese poen) etc are not harmful to children?
    That Disney movies are worse than exposing a kid to that?
    It is fairly secure to say that porn in general doesn't have adverse effects. I know of several studies which showed this. Whether you should let your kids watch porn unsupervised is another question. I'd say, of course not.

    Unsupervised access to WD's crap is also not recommendable. The ideal world pictured there might lead to trauma if confronted with the real world (just IMO, though, also depending on the circumstances).


    Disagree here too. The way Japanese erotic videos and porn are packaged almost universally treat women as subservient and 'controlled' sex objects. Japan has a big problem with the way women are treated and viewed by some men and exposing boys to media which depicts women as subservient objects only useful for sex will not help fix that issue. Its deeper than the 'nudity is natural' track and goes into cultural perceptions of women.
    That's not the problem of erotica, but of society. Negative effects of exposure to some pictures like that are questionable. Blame the parents, not the pic!

  23. #23
    Go to shopping PopCulturePooka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    It is fairly secure to say that porn in general doesn't have adverse effects. I know of several studies which showed this.
    Depends on what porn you watch. Again I ask you, is watching simulated rape porn as a child ok? Is watching porn with violent imagery and storyline ok? Porn where women are ravaged by 20 plus men is ok for kids? At least better than Disney? Please tell me straight yes or no as ALL of these types of porn are common in Japan. They are not underground fetishes but readily available forms of AV.
    You mean to say that exposing these forms of porn to kids would not have negative developmental effects? Boy thats rich.

    Whether you should let your kids watch porn unsupervised is another question. I'd say, of course not.
    When it comes to a whole lot of Japanese porn I wouldnt let kids watch it supervised. I know adults who quite happily watch Western porn that get disturbed by Japanese porn.

    Unsupervised access to WD's crap is also not recommendable. The ideal world pictured there might lead to trauma if confronted with the real world (just IMO, though, also depending on the circumstances).
    Sturm and drang, back this up or start talking sense. You shouldn't make ridiculous arguments. Instead show statistics where kids from anywhere are messed up from watching Mickey Mouse and Beauty & the BEast. I'd dare say you would be VERY hard pressed.



    That's not the problem of erotica, but of society. Negative effects of exposure to some pictures like that are questionable. Blame the parents, not the pic!
    'Art' imitates life. In this case life in Japan involves to some degree treating women as second class objects, fit for humliation, objectification, bondage and forced actions. This is demonstrated in its erotic art as like I said it imitates life. The perverts take the pics and demand the pics. I think there are problems in exposing kids, especially boys already being raised to believe women are beneath them to imagery that shows women way beneath men, as nothing more than objects. We aren't just talking playboy nudes here. We are, in japan, potentially talking about images that involve women tied up, crying, looking shamed or humiliated or worse. Thats natural and ok too show too children? Ha.

  24. #24
    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstHousePooka
    Japan executes too. And with Japans 'stellar' and 'fair' (Haha) legal system thats a very scary idea.


    This one made me laugh, again this applies so so beautifully to Japanese big business as well. The companies get away with murder and there are very very few Environmrntal Protection Laws in Japan.
    I wasn't American bashing as such. I was just pointing out the fact that the American Government go around putting these countries on UN watchlist when they are one of the worst offenders. I know Japan excutes people, I know they pollute. I thought it was just a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Japan at least signed up to Kyoto, which is more than the US government did, and they are the biggest polluters in the world.

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    Hello all,

    Interesting thread. A lot has been said, but personally I don't know if all that should be bracketed under the same title as "backward" - it starts with a negative thrust, and that negative thrust automatically follows down the list indiscriminately, though the nature of debate varies drastically from section to section.

    There are some genuinly backward things in Japan, but there are also things that is just different in base-perception. Historically it's so typical to use the West as the absolute frame of reference to measure the rest of the world, having made an assumption that the west has the monopoly on righteousness. This in itself is debatable.
    In either case, I hope such differences will not result in driving tanks and dropping bombs, though sadly politics in the west often result in that - one could also argue that that is a very backward attitude by politicians too, depending on how you look at it, to give one small example.

    So really, by shifting the point of emphasis a lot of things could be seen as forward or backward because the real question here is that of the frame of reference. I hope we'll all keep our minds open when dealing with a profoundly different culture, ready to accept that, sometimes, what you see is not necessarily everything there is to know about this world.

    Note that I didn't necessarily disagree with the points raised in the original post!

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    By Maciamo in forum Education
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