Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

“Less Rightfully Human”

February 20, 2007

Excellent Zeitgeist today in the Japan Times, detailing neatly the chasm yawning between public terror of crime committed by foreigners in Japan and the rather duller reality. There is a clear correlation between skewed news media portrayals of foreigner crime (not to mention one company’s sales of special “foreigner-proof locks”, as well as sales in ordinary stores of the fear-mongering, xenophobic 犯罪外人裏ファイル-“Secret File on Foreigner Crime”) and the widespread, incorrect perceptions among Japanese people that A) crime is skyrocketing and B) it’s skyrocketing because of foreigners. A responsible, balanced news industry should be a given in any nation considering itself advanced.  


Shop at Family Mart

February 11, 2007

Letter below to James at Japan Probe from Family Mart customer service. If you see any more copies of 犯罪外人裏ファイル (Secret File on Foreigner Crime) at Family Mart, let them know about it. The boycott against the convenience store is over.

Some interesting qualities about this boycott and its conclusion: it never involved a number of customers large enough to seriously impact Family Mart sales (I doubt more than fifty people complained; an early apology letter from Family Mart referred to ten complaints). To my knowledge, it never was featured in any Japanese news outlet (and only a handful of Japanese-language blogs), so probably the Japanese public was almost completely oblivious to the controversy. It received scant circulation in the non-Japanese press, not enough to cause international pressure. The participants of the boycott were almost all non-Japanese. Apparently, Family Mart sold only a small fraction of the copies it put on the shelves, and probably both publisher and store lost some money in all this. In other words, Family Mart could have just left the magazines on the shelves and ignored the boycott and the trickle of complaints and sold the rest of the copies of this one-off mook with less pain. Still, the execs at Family Mart chose not to. Good for them.   

Dear James,

Thank you very much for your valued comments regarding the Gaijin Hanzai Ura File magazines and bringing this serious matter to our attention. We placed an initial order of this magazine from the publisher prior to fully confirming the details of the material content matter. However, after this magazine went on sale beginning Jan. 31st, we discovered that it contained totally inappropriate, disrespectful, and offensive verbal comments and visual effects. Therefore, we notified all of our stores on February 5th demanding immediate removal of this magazine from the store shelves. However, to our regret, it is true that a ceratain number of stores have missed the instruction, and have continued to keep the magazine on the shelves, followed by our second instruction on Feb. 7th. Although we will keep trying to fulfill this mission by ourselves without fail, if you will find the book at any store of FamilyMart from now, could you please give us the exact name of the store so to enable us to take immediate action with special attention. Your warmful undestanding and kind cooperation shall be highly appreciated.

We truly regret this unintentional oversight that caused you to have such an unpleasant experience and offended so many of our valued customers. We would like to convey our apology by showing our action of the withdrawal at each FamilyMart store, and by responding to each customer who kindly gave us this sort of advice. We are taking active steps to ensure that future similar incident do not occur again and appreciate your continued support of our FamilyMart stores.

Yoshiaki kato
Yoshiaki kato
Customer Service Department
FamilyMart Co.,Ltd.
26-10 Higashi-Ikebukuro 4-Chome,
Toshima-Ku, Tokyo 170-8404, Japan