Foreign Policy Blogs

UN expert: Gov't discriminates against foreign students

U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, presented a report on his findings during his visit to Japan in March last year to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday. He criticized the Japanese government’s discrimination towards foreign schools, and urged it to do more in guaranteeing the rights of foreign migrants’ children.

During the week-long visit, he interviewed migrants and their families, including Filipinos and Brazilians in Nagoya, and met Noriko Calderon, a Japanese-born daughter of a Filipino couple who was granted special permission to stay in Japan, while her undocumented parents were deported to the Philippines.

In the report, Bustamante called on the Japanese government to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will and best interests as a result of deportation.

Bustamante said, “Japan should review decision-making processes relating to deportation of migrants and ensure that the best interest of the child is systematically taken into account as primary consideration in deportation procedures.”

Bustamante noted that the majority of migrant children in Japan do not receive necessary assistance to develop appropriate language skills, and also urged that graduates of pro-Pyongyang schools be granted access to university entrance examinations.

Bustamante’s report accords to what I’ve observed in Japan. Unlike American schools, which now assist children of Spanish-speaking parents to become proficient in English, Japan does nothing of the sort for children of non-Japanese speaking parents.

I also know of occasions when right-wing idiots parked their sound-vans outside Korean elementary schools and blasted anti-foreign hate speech all day long. I don’t know where the police were when this was happening.

Japan’s population is aging rapidly, and faces an imminent labor shortage. One way to make up that shortfall is integrating foreigners into their society, which Japan has no history of doing. Given the findings of Bustamante’s report, I don’t think Japan is likely to make a turn-around any time soon.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

Visit him online at
E-mail him: [email protected]