Zaitokukai

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

Zaitokukai, full name 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 perceived privileges extended to Zainichi Koreans and hold South Korean or North Korean citizenship.[1] Its membership between 9,000[2] to over 15,000,[3] and the Western media has called them "J-racism's hottest new upstarts."[4]

It was founded and led by a man who goes by the assumed name, 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. [5] It is considered an extremist group.[6]

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Zaitokukai was founded on December 2, 2006, and held its inauguration meeting in January 2007. [7]

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 shocked by the fact that there were Japanese who backed a suit which he thought could destroy the Japanese pension system. He then searched for a conservative political organization protesting against what he regarded as an extraordinary demand of Zainichi Koreans, but could find none. He then decided to establish Zaitokukai. [8]

Activities[edit]

The group has been protesting against the extension of suffrage to foreign nationals. In September 2009, it held a demonstration in Akihabara calling for the resistance to granting suffrage to foreign nationals with about 1,000 participants, according to Sakurai. [9] Some time before that, Zaitokukai held a counter-protest against a demonstration by more than 3,000 in Ginza, Tokyo, organized by Mindan (the Korean Residents Union in Japan) to extend suffrage to foreigners.[10]

They also involve themselves extensively on social media.[4]

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 detriment of Japanese citizens. It accuses Zainichi Koreans of 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 in Japanese society.[11]

In pursuit of its goals, Zaitokukai has set an ultimate goal of repealing the Special Act on Immigration Control (入管特例法) [12] 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.[13] The second chairman, Yasuhiro Yagi, also affirmed in his inauguration message that Zaitokukai’s ultimate objective is to annul the said Act.[14]

Criticism[edit]

Anti-Zaitokukai rally in Tokyo, 2013

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.[15] A writer for Vice News pointed out they tend to focus on Zainichi Koreans to the exclusion of other groups that might violate immigration statutes.[4]

They also take to the Internet, and in August 2014, Lee Sin, a freelance writer, filed two lawsuits one for damages of ¥5.5 million against the group and Sakurai and ¥22 million against the administrator of Hoshu Shimpo, a conservative news website compiler for defamation by hate speech, the first of its kind. She received sometimes hundreds of negative messages daily on her social networking site and says that she would like to hold responsible website compiler that profits from compiling discriminatory internet commentary.[16]

Ikuo Gonoi, a professor at Takachiho University and researcher at the Institute of Social Science at International Christian University, described them in 2013 as "just an archaic type of 'mob' (which Hannah Arendt defined in The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951), not something like a 'new wave'".[17]

Incidents[edit]

In 2009 they showed up at the school and home of a Filipino girl whose parents were deported for overstaying their visas. In 2010 they protested showings of The Cove.[18]

On August 10, 2010, four members of Zaitokukai were arrested for harassing Korean students in Minami Ward, Kyoto,[19][20] at a pro-DPRK school.[21]

On 17 June 2013, Makoto Sakurai and three other members were arrested in Shinjuku, Tokyo, when a fistfight broke between counter-protesters and the Zaitokukai.[22]

In early 2014, their demonstration of 100 in Ikebukuro were met by double the number of counterprotesters. Sakurai's van was surrounded but managed to escape to Koreatown, and one member and four counterprotesters were arrested.[2]

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. [dead link] PDF
  2. ^ a b http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/world/asia/29japan.html?ref=world&_r=1
  3. ^ http://www.zaitokukai.info/ (Japanese)
  4. ^ a b c https://news.vice.com/article/japans-internet-nationalists-really-hate-koreans
  5. ^ http://www.zaitokukai.info/modules/news/article.php?storyid=639 (Japanese)
  6. ^ 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. 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. 
  7. ^ Makoto Sakurai, Daikenkanjidai (大嫌韓時代), Seirindo, 2014, p. 162.
  8. ^ Ditto, pp. 159-160.
  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!) meaning “Zaitokukai is short for ‘Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi!’”, Seirindo, 2013, p. 62.
  10. ^ Ditto, p. 63.
  11. ^ http://www.zaitokukai.info/modules/about/zai/promises.html
  12. ^ 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)
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 会長選挙当選の挨拶 (Japanese)
  15. ^ "A black sun rises in a declining Japan". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). August 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ Takahashi, Mei, "Damages Claimed for Hate Speech," Voices From Japan (Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center), No. 29 March 2015, p.49
  17. ^ "Spreading hate speech: from revisionism to anti-semitism", June 5, 2013, Astand (Japanese)
  18. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/world/asia/29japan.html?ref=world&_r=1
  19. ^ "Rightists arrested over harassment of schoolchildren". Asahi Shimbun. 2010-08-11. 
  20. ^ "Several to be held for allegedly harassing Korean school". Mainichi Daily News. August 10, 2010. 
  21. ^ Sharp, Andy (August 12, 2010). "Rightists’ Childish Attacks". The Diplomat. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  22. ^ Fackler, Martin (June 17, 2013). "8 Arrested in Tokyo Fights Involving Anti-Korean Group". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]