Zaitokukai

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Zaitokukai demonstrating against the right of non-citizens to vote in Shinjuku on January 24, 2010

Zaitokukai, whose formal name is Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (在日特権を許さない市民の会?, meaning Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi), is a Japanese political organization that seeks to eliminate privileges extended to foreigners who have been granted Special Foreign Resident status. Most of such foreigners are Zainichi Koreans and hold South Korean or North Korean citizenship.[1] According to its official website, its membership is over 15,000.[2]

It was founded and led by Makoto Sakurai. On November 16, 2014, Yasuhiro Yagi was selected as Chairman for the fifth term as the result of a confidence vote by Zaitokukai's members. [3] Although it is considered as an extremist group, it generally engages in non-violent protests.[4]

Foundation[edit]

Zaitokukai was founded on December 2, 2006, and held its inauguration meeting in January 2007. [5]

Sakurai’s founding of Zaitokukai was triggered by TV news reporting that a group of Japanese citizens was organized to support Zainichi Koreans who brought a lawsuit to obtain national pensions without making any premium payment. Sakurai was extremely shocked by the fact that there were Japanese who backed such a suit which he thought could destroy the Japanese pension system. He then searched for a conservative political organization protesting against such an extraordinary demand of Zainichi Koreans, but could find none. He therefore decided to establish Zaitokukai to do what no one else was doing. [6]

Agenda[edit]

Zaitokukai alleges that Zainichi Koreans have special legal rights granted to them through the process of their integration into the Japanese society. It claims that Zainichi Koreans use "pass names" that are Japanese-style and often very different from their original Korean names and they exploit their pass names to abuse welfare and administrative systems. It also believes that it is much easier for Zainichi Koreans to claim and receive welfare benefits than for it is Japanese citizens, causing serious problems in the entire welfare system in Japan to the detrimental effects on Japanese citizens. It attacks Zainichi Koreans for cheating the tax system as well, claiming that Zainichi Koreans pay reduced amounts for many taxes, including income tax, corporate tax, and council tax. It argues that Zainichi Koreans wrongfully claim those rights by saying that they are a deprived and discriminated minority of the Japanese society and that Japan should deny them all of those special rights.[7]

In order to abolish such special rights of Zainichi Koreans, Zaitokukai has set an ultimate goal of repealing the Special Act on Immigration Control (入管特例法) [8] which gives Zainichi Koreans special permanent residence status which can never be granted to other foreign nationals. The first chairman Sakurai declared in his book that Zaitokukai would be dissolved when the Special Act on Immigration Control is repealed.[9] The second chairman, Yasuhiro Yagi, also affirmed in his inauguration message that Zaitokukai’s objective is to annul the said Act.[10]

Criticism[edit]

Zaitokukai has often been criticized by those who believe that there is no evidence for their claims. Even where Zainichi Koreans enjoy rights that differentiate them from Japanese citizens, such as the use of a "legal alias" or Japanese common name, it is argued that these are not exclusively given to Zainichi Koreans but used by many other foreign nationals in Japan.

The group is criticized for its aggressive and racist behaviour towards non-citizen residents of Japan, mostly Zainichi Koreans. It frequently organizes small-scale public demonstrations against Zainichi Koreans and other social and political issues, and its members make racist insults against Koreans, Chinese, and other foreign nationals in these demonstrations.[11]

Ikuo Gonoi, a professor for Takachiho University and fellow researcher for the Institute of Social Science of International Christian University, has described them as "just an archaic type of 'mob' (which Hannah Arendt defined in The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951), not something like a 'new wave'".[12]

Incidents[edit]

On August 10, 2010, four members of Zaitokukai were arrested for harassing Korean students in Minami Ward, Kyoto,[13][14] at a pro-DPRK school.[15]

On 17 June 2013, Makoto Sakurai and three other members were arrested in Shinjuku, Tokyo, when a fistfight broke between the counterprotesters and the Zaitokukai.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blair, Gavin (August 2008). "Wai oh why?". No.1 Shimbun (Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan) 40 (8): 6–7. Retrieved 2009-12-16.  PDF
  2. ^ http://www.zaitokukai.info/ (Japanese)
  3. ^ http://www.zaitokukai.info/modules/news/article.php?storyid=639 (Japanese)
  4. ^ Fackler, Martin (August 28, 2010). "A New Wave of Dissent in Japan Is Openly and Loudly Anti-Foreign". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2010. Though some here compare these groups to neo-Nazis, sociologists say that they are different because they lack an aggressive ideology of racial supremacy, and have so far been careful to draw the line at violence. There have been no reports of injuries, or violence beyond pushing and shouting. Rather, the Net right’s main purpose seems to be venting frustration, both about Japan’s diminished stature and in their own personal economic difficulties. 
  5. ^ Makoto Sakurai, Daikenkanjidai (大嫌韓時代), Seirindo, 2014, p. 162.
  6. ^ Ditto. pp. 159-160.
  7. ^ http://www.zaitokukai.info/modules/about/zai/promises.html
  8. ^ Formally “Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan” (日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法) (Japanese)
  9. ^ Makoto Sakurai, Zaitokukai toha "Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai" no Ryakusho desu! (在特会とは「在日特権を許さない市民の会」の略称です!) (which means ″Zaitokukai is short for ′Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi!′″), Seirindo, 2013, p. 43.
  10. ^ 会長選挙当選の挨拶 (Japanese)
  11. ^ "A black sun rises in a declining Japan". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). August 23, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Spreading hate speech: from revisionism to anti-semitism", June 5, 2013, Astand (Japanese)
  13. ^ "Rightists arrested over harassment of schoolchildren". Asahi Shimbun. 2010-08-11. 
  14. ^ "Several to be held for allegedly harassing Korean school". Mainichi Daily News. August 10, 2010. 
  15. ^ Sharp, Andy (August 12, 2010). "Rightists’ Childish Attacks". The Diplomat. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  16. ^ Fackler, Martin (June 17, 2013). "8 Arrested in Tokyo Fights Involving Anti-Korean Group". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]