Archive for September, 2009

The Otaru Onsen Case: Ten Years On

September 24, 2009

September 19th marked the tenth anniversary of human rights activist Debito Arudou’s first visit to the Yu-no-Hana Onsen in Otaru, Hokkaido and the first of three times he and some of his companions were turned away due to an explicit “Japanese Only” policy that turned out to be, according to the explanation offered by the management of the onsen, a “Japanese-looking” Only policy.

As most TPR readers or listeners know, after trying many other avenues of reconciliation, Arudou and two other plaintiffs filed and won a civil suit against Yu-no-Hana, as well as two appeals. The first and only decision against the plaintiffs was in a civil suit before the Supreme Court against the City of Otaru for negligence.

The case generated more publicity and hardship than Arudou or his co-plaintiffs had anticipated and wound up launching Arudou down a new path of human rights advocacy, on which he continues to this day. (more…)


Hatoyama Officially becomes PM, Names Cabinet

September 17, 2009

As expected, Yukio Hatoyama officially became Japan’s 93rd Prime Minister yesterday and just the second since the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party was founded not to belong to it. Just as importantly, after roughly two weeks of managing to keep the press at bay and leaking little, if anything about the make-up of the new Cabinet, the new Prime Minister formed the first Cabinet since 1955 to contain no LDP members.

In fact, as promised, the new Cabinet is made up entirely of elected representatives. Every portfolio went to a DPJ member, with only two positions going to the DPJ’s partners: State Minister in Charge of Consumer Affairs and the Declining Birthrate to SDP head Mizuho Fukushima and State Minister in Charge of Financial and Postal Issues to People’s New Party chief Shizuka Kamei.

So, without further ado, the Cabinet: (more…)