Journalist covering Fukushima reportedly harassed and imprisoned on return to Tokyo — “What are the names of people you met in Fukushima?” asked officer

Published: January 19th, 2012 at 9:44 pm ET


See the Dec. 19 article in the Japan Times written by Canadian journalist Christopher Johnson here: Lone holdout’s first nuclear winter looms in Tohoku

Title: Japan’s immigration control: Gulag for gaijin | The Economist
Date: Jan 18, 2012

AN EXTRAORDINARY story is making the rounds among the hacks and other expats in Japan. A Canadian freelance journalist who has lived in Japan for years fell into the ugly whirlpool of Japan’s immigration-and-detention system. […] 

Still the case of Christopher Johnson beggars belief. Returning to Tokyo after a short trip on December 23rd he was ushered
into an examination room, where his nightmare began. Over the next 24 hours he was imprisoned and harassed. Most of his requests to call a lawyer, the embassy or friends were denied, he says. […]

Mr Johnson’s ordeal closely matches the abuses exposed in a 22-page report by Amnesty International in 2002, “Welcome to Japan?”, suggesting that even the known problems have not been fixed. […]

“While taking my fingerprints, an immigration officer saw my name on a computer watch list. Without even looking through my
passport, where he might find proper stamps for my travels, he marked a paper and gave it to another immigration officer. ”Come with me,” he said, and I did.”

The immigration officers provided a translator—hired by immigration. […]

Q: “What are the names of the hotels where you stayed in April in the disaster zone? What are the names of people you met in Fukushima?”

A: “Well, I stayed at many places, I met hundreds of people.”

Q: “What are their names?”

A: “Well, there are so many.”

Q: “You are refusing to answer the question! You must say exactly, in detail.” […]

Read the report here

h/t Fukushima Diary

Published: January 19th, 2012 at 9:44 pm ET


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  3. Report: Japan journalist says it’s all a big conspiracy theory to conceal facts — Public has been brainwashed — Local press is just covering up June 10, 2012
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  5. Famous Japanese Actress: Gov’t is covering up Fukushima crisis — “Our nation has a right to know” — People who write the truth on Internet will be punished under new law — TV stars in Japan are to never discuss political views September 18, 2013

29 comments to Journalist covering Fukushima reportedly harassed and imprisoned on return to Tokyo — “What are the names of people you met in Fukushima?” asked officer

  • Orwellian madness, meanwhile Obummer sticks our friendly northern neighboors with a sharp stick in the eye, forcing Canada to sell oil to China instead of the US.

    Don’t worry…Obummer will just extend license on US nuke plants.

    Obummer also stating to increase US military presence in Asia, after fn up the mideast.

    Is it possible for someone to act more in the disinterest of the US than this?

    • Whoopie Whoopie



      @stock: nice rant! I knew the character of this ‘man’ when he chose Biden as his running mate. Add Hillary to the mix and it was a done deal. It’s sad to think of how many – well-meaning people – fell prey to his smooth rhetoric. Of course, we’d only get more of the same from the challengers. There’s only one guy (guess who?) that’s offering a return to government integrity and rule of law. The rest can rot…

    • takedake

      anne the Koch brothers deserve all you give them, but why did you hijack this thread to rant about something completely unrelated to this important story about Japan?

      Extremely selfish and inconsiderate of you.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        If you look above you will see that I am responding to another blogger who brought up the issue. So I just responded for whoever didn’t know what the issues are. Whoopie was responding to stock@hawaii. I thought that maybe they didn’t know the issues.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        You should reserve your criticism for whoever brought up the issue to begin with. I am for the environment and protecting the huge aquifer that would have been destroyed if the Keystone Pipeline had gone through. The oil would still have been sold to foreign countries and the farmland and millions of Americans would have lost their land and the US would have lost the land which provides a great deal of food to the US. In addition, the Koch brothers tried to destroy pensions for public workers across the whole US and would have illegally bought up Wisconsin state owned utilities for little of nothing in a no bid contract. When Gov. Scott Walker was elected he received 1,200,000 total votes. Those who wish to recall him already have 1,000,000 signatures.

        I think that you now also bear some responsibility for keeping this issue alive in this thread.

        • Room101 Room101

          Anne, you are amazing.
          I’m serious.

        • radegan

          The other end of the Keystone caper is the Gulf Coast and southern states. When you refine that nasty tar/oil in Gulf refineries, it’ll belch lots of airborne particulates into the sky. Oh, yeah, the refineries will run 24/7 and the owners will clean up, but refineries don’t employ very many people for the amount of damage they do to people downwind. Since this oil is headed for foreign lands, esp. China, why not let the Canadians muck up Vancouver and BC by refining it there? At least the new refineries they’ll have to build can use state of the art technology and perhaps the route to China is shorter, burdening the world with less pollution. Or we could all buy less stuff from China who wouldn’t be buying the oil then.

        • Fall out man!

          Agreed with Room101 and chemfood. I think I’ve learned the most valuable information from the comments section of Enenews articles, even more than from the articles themselves. Anne has provided very valuable information to this site over a long period of time. I think some of it will lead to bigger stories later as well. (thinking of the effects on the atmosphere/climate/weather of nuclear emissions for example and many other things.)

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    WTH? Why is this coming out so LATE?????

  • Human0815

    This is a very normal behavior for the Immigration Process here in Japan!

    My Wife needed to pick me up 5 Times from Narita Airport because of the demand from the Immigration Officers, 3 Times because i used a Temporary Visitor Visa for my “Visa-Runs” and stayed in Laos for a few Weeks/ Months, and 2 times i had a Spouse Visa but came also back from Northern Laos (my second Home)
    and they thought i may hold Contraband!

    The Japanese Immigration is known for her disgusting behavior and rude handling of this Process, the Japanese Police can hold you up to three Month in custody without informing anyone
    and without letting you to made a Telephone Call!

    “Immigration” is a bloody Hell here!

    • takedake

      Japan is a Police State and has been one for hundreds of years. A thin veneer of modernity covers a feudal mentality that hasn’t changed since the Edo period.

      Japanese police are usually polite but they’re 100% authoritarian fascists.

      To wit: as a foreigner you have no civil rights. You can be stopped on the street and searched, even demanded to give in to a urine test. If anything illicit is found in your urine you go to jail. If you came from the US 1 week before and still have THC in your blood because you smoked pot in the US, you will go to jail.

      The only good thing that will come of this FDI disaster is that the thin veneer of “civilized Japan” will be torn away exposing it for the hardcore extremely authoritarian place that it is. It’s a corporatist state with heavy Yakuza (mafia) involvement in the nuclear industry and elsewhere.

      One party has controlled the country for most of the last 70 years. There are around 100,000 yakuza in Japan (vs. less than 3,000 mafiosi in the US).

      Japan has done a good job of putting on a nice cultural mask, since duplicity is ingrained in every citizen from day one, but once one gets enough familiarity with the place all of the lies, deception, bullying, harrassment, etc are no surprise. After, iijime (bullying) is so commonplace it’s the unofficial national sport.

  • takedake

    Lest you think mine is a mindless rant, consider that if you overstay your visa for just one day in Japan you go to jail, where you can be kept incommunicado with no access to a lawyer for 23 days (a 10-day incarceration which can be renewed once and then extended a further 3 days–and almost always is). During this period you can and likely will be interrogated for 10 hours a day.

    One is not secure in their abode (the police can enter any house without a warrant) or in their body in Japan; the State has access to everything, at any time.

  • Even worse, they probably only feed you radioactive fish in detention.

  • From above synopsis of article “Mr Johnson’s ordeal closely matches the abuses exposed in a 22-page report by Amnesty International in 2002, “Welcome to Japan?”, suggesting that even the known problems have not been fixed.” So this is what Japan is all about as per takedake and human0815. Still think they are giving a foreign reporter a hard time for reporting on Fukushima.

    I’m not sure, ultimately how far off Anne’s comments really are from topic. My new favorite word is Plutocracy. Look it up if you don’t know what it means. A plutocratic monied class runs this world and there powers go past borders and states. Democracy is an illusion.
    Barrack Obama was the peoples choice. Now that he is in power, his popularity is fallen. Why? because he consistently makes the choice that suits the Money class who really are in power. He was bought and sold long before he became the President. All of us here at Enenews are a politically aware group, even though that translates to a well founded mis trust of all governments, Japanese American Canadian and all others. Interesting what Anne has to say about the pipelines. Never heard of the Koch brothers. Canada doesn’t need to sell her oil to China. We have a strong economy without that revenue. Lots of pipelines in the works here in Western Canada. The responsible thing to do would be to just leave it in the ground. The economy isn’t as important as a healthy life. This western economic engine is built on smoke and mirrors. Clean air and clean water are the basis for a happy and healthy life. Whether the pollution comes from a nuclear power plant or a 747 it is wrong and immoral. The better ways are kept away from us so somebody can continue to make obscene amounts of money and get off on power.

    God Bless

  • LloydJHart LloydJHart

    At the heart of nuclear power is fascism simply because, if nuclear power had to be subject to actual democracy it wouldn’t be able to stand up to public scrutiny and therefore wouldn’t be able exist. This is why I laugh when Americans call their country the beacon of freedom and democracy in the world.

    The only freedom that exists in America is the freedom to poison the population with complete abandonment and without consequences.

    I remember when my father came to our house in 1969 with a file showing it to my brother while yelling at him. The RCMP special branch had complied a dossier on my family which exposed my brother’s small time hippy pot dealing to my father with the intent of attempting to intimidate my father. My father had a triple E security rating in Canada and his bosses at the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited wanted him to some work on nuclear weapons for the Americans he was reluctant to do at the time.

    • maaa

      Don’t worry, the end will come soon. People are starting to say “Let’s bomb USA” after they took down megaupload today.

    • LloydJHart, awesome post, nuclear power doesn’t even pass a business model. Spent fuel disposal is never fully accounted for in any business model it is downloaded for our childrens children to deal with. Sure your Dad was coerced by RCMP on behalf of US Army. I believe that as I believe JF Kennedy got assassinated to keep troops in Vietnam. Today we have Afghanistan, Iraq and a list of countries US is interfering with. Vietnams lesson was to not have a draft to avoid anti-war protestors. Even Brian Mulroney was fingered for taking a suitcase of money from the German weapons provider Scrieder. Spelling his name wrong but if anyone remembers the story the only reason Schreider ratted out Mulroney was to try to avoid deportation to Germany for tax evasion. If a Canadian Prime Minister got caught once with a suitcase of money, how many more suitcases are out there? And how many suitcases and/or threats do the nuclear industry provide?

  • OvereasyMorning

    Probably off topic, please be patient. I have only posted once, and I’m not good following squat, do to the the many meds I take. I’m passionate on this issue and try to follow/educate as best I can. I had been reading a article at….the first comment from “Martin Bensky on 1/15/12” just threw me for a loop. Is this comment coming from a shill, misinformed or tourist guide? I’ve read many comments from the “shills” and they are easy to spot. This one seems to have put much thought into their post.
    I spend the better part of my day trying to stay abreast in current affairs, but this commenter came across as a professional “news adjuster”. So many “papers” and “news spots” spew misinformation that our best info comes from the comment section. It’s a scary thought to think they are upping their game. Many people take the written word as gospel, and first responders often set the tone to legate or invalidate said article.
    Although I haven’t the time nor wit to respond to this “liar” just now, I do hope one of you can correct him and let those reading his posts understand how dire this situation really is.
    Thanks for reading!

  • OvereasyMorning

    Follow UP……

    Reacting to Japan’s Fukushima disaster, the nuclear industry is preparing to present regulators with a streamlined package of voluntary safety improvements that it says could be put into effect quickly — although they would not be certified as formal nuclear standards regarding specific threats.

    On Friday, representatives of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s policy group, plan to meet with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to propose improvements in the industry’s “flexible mitigation capability” for a variety of hazards. Those might be earthquakes or flooding — although probably not from a tsunami, as was the case at Fukushima Daiichi in March — or some other hazard peculiar to the plant’s location, like a sandstorm.

    The improvements would build on the ones instituted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when the industry brought in portable generators, water pumps, hoses and batteries that could be useful in keeping water flowing to a reactor or a spent fuel pool in an emergency.

    After the Fukushima accident, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered the plants to inspect that gear, and some found various problems, including equipment stored in places where it would be safe from a 9/11-style aircraft attack but might be vulnerable to a flood.

    In a telephone call with reporters, Adrian Heymer, the executive director of strategic programs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, said the industry would propose twin sets of emergency equipment, to be located at opposite sides of the plant, and steps like installing new plumbing connections so that emergency pumps could introduce water into existing pipes. The industry will also suggest forming regional support centers where additional equipment would be available to serve multiple plants, he said.

    Green – Energy, the Environment and the Bottom Line
    January 12, 2012, 8:00 am