This rather impressive (in a bad way) tale of incarceration (or should that be In Carceration, given the way the story is being spun) takes the sting off fully-documented cases from Amnesty by telling a story so full of holes that it quite frankly stinks. By the way, if you wish to indulge in full-blown character assassination, may I recommend this thread instead.
First off, one thing not clearly stated is his visa status, although given that he went to Seoul for three days, there is a smell of never-ending 3 month tourist visa renewals, yet he is working for Japanese national newspapers, which would be a violation of his visa status.
Oh, and if this does get reported by a reputable source, I will happily eat humble pie.
Now, let’s get to the bits that are more than a bit off:
In reality, "overstaying" means they were dedicating their lives to working for Japanese bosses or employing Japanese in their own businesses
What, all overstayers? Why, they should be getting the Order of the Chrysanthemum for their efforts!
That 2010 number — 18,578 individuals with names and families, often in Japan — is enough to fill about 100 jets flying out of Japan during the mass foreign exodus from aftershocks and radiation fears in March.
That number — 18,578 — is similar to the official death toll from the March 11 tsunami, which triggered a wave of international sympathy for the plight of Japan.
"The airline let me on, so there shouldn’t have been a problem."
The immigration officer at Narita, however, didn’t even look through my passport, where he would have found proper visas dating back years. While taking my fingerprints, he saw my name pop up on a list on his computer.
Every time I go through immigration they verify the passport and the stamps before taking the fingerprints.
denied landing rights
No, foreigners do not have landing rights.
The Immigration Bureau said it deported 33,192 foreigners in 2005.
Yeah, how dare the Immigration Bureau enforce the law!
It is the best place in the country to make someone — anyone — disappear.
At one moment he seemed like a drunk and deranged o-taku, with zero human relations skills. Another moment, he was laughing wildly, shaking my hand. Then he threatened me, with fearless eyes that reminded me of the death row convict I once interviewed in a Pennsylvania jail.
"But I do have proof," I said.
This is the crux of the story – proof of what? The author never tells us.
I tried to make a mobile phone call but there was no signal in the room. I wandered into other rooms, hoping for a signal that didn’t appear.
I thought he’d had his belongings confiscated? What’s he doing wandering from room to room during an interview?
The immigration officers called them "KBs"
He elsewhere claims to have good Japanese, yet here seems unaware of 警備員, or is just spinning a story.
Since I could understand their Japanese, they spoke to each other in a language I didn’t recognize: a dialect of North Korean, Mongolian, Manchurian perhaps?
Luckily, I spotted three police officers on patrol in the tunnel. "Onegai! Onegai!" I called out for help, waving my hands in the air like a drowning swimmer. They rushed over. Seeing a foreigner being led away by two men, they sensed something sinister — an abduction perhaps? — and called in another 10 officers.
I dropped the names of various Japanese politicians and public figures, until it occurred to me that these guards might not even be Japanese!
I had done work for NHK dating back to 1994, and knew all about their shadows behind the scenes.
They strip-searched him, feeling everywhere. "Oh, come on! Don’t put your finger in my ass!" he pleaded, but they did.
His knuckles were badly bruised and deformed, like he had been punching a tree, or a human being.
He told me to make a "very strong argument" against the racist officers, the Nazi translator, Asiana Airlines, and the whole decrepit process.
Maybe they had been let out of prison, on condition of working here.
The great writer, Dostoevsky, sentenced to death, standing outside in the freezing Siberian winter waiting to be executed by the firing squad. I though of Solzhenitsyn, finding the courage to write about his experiences in the Gulag Archipelago. I thought about the great political leaders, such as Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Somebody new was in the jail’s common room to listen to my phone calls. She was a foreigner, like me. "Great," I thought. "She’ll help sort out this mess." She struck me as being from India, Pakistan or Afghanistan — all countries I’ve visited. She wore a blue blazer and a name tag. The strap said "US Department of Homeland Security."
What is a DHS officer doing in a Japanese detention facility? This would make a great movie.
But within minutes, a posse of police officers showed up. Armed, they stood tall and proud over the immigration officers and the sleazy airline KBs. They folded their arms and stared down the smaller men.
Here was the generational divide in Japan, in full force: the younger cops warming up to the foreigner speaking Japanese, and the older cop stereotyping him as a criminal. It was an anecdote loaded with symbolism, something to write in a story.
She had grey streaks in her black hair, dark freckled skin, and the tortured look of an ex-con. She showed no hint of any Japanese manners, and I wondered if she was from North Korea.
My heart burst open like a seawall against a tsunami.