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Journalist's new passport bans him from going to Iraq, Syria

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Yeah...I am with Japan on this....

-16 ( +9 / -25 )

For those who don't know, your passport is owned by the issuing government.

You're merely the issuant or holder.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

Hell no....Japan could handle this better. He is a journalist, and if he wants to go and get his head chopped off fine, let him go, just ensure that the government makes him sign paperwork relieving them of any liability, real or otherwise, and then let the government advertise the hell out of it.

Freedom of movement is paramount in a democratic society, this guy knows what and what he is going and in this case the government here is wrong in my opinion.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. "出る釘は打たれる”-

I've always hated this saying. Let the guy git his photos. He's a big boy & knows exactly what the heck he's getting into.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

He now has a "Do Not Serve" poster at all airports.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Wc626

The nails that don't stick out, have already been hammered down. :)

9 ( +12 / -3 )

@ Wc626 - but him and his family will be the first to beg for help when he's forced to wear an orange jumpsuit.

0 ( +11 / -10 )

For better or for worse, it is a well-established rule in international law that citizens and subjects of a nation-state have no inherent privilege or right to travel across national boundaries. Indeed, the opposite is the case: the nation has, in theory and in practice when enforceable, the absolute right to allow or restrict its citizens or subjects from crossing the national border -- i.e.leave the country. By extension, the state can restrict travel to certain countries is deems dangerous, or simply does not like.

That said, in liberal democracies, which Japan claims to be, the state cannot in theory, discriminate against some individuals when allowing travel to another country. Here, however, that seems to be the case. The Japanese government claims it refuses to allow the photographer to go to Syria and Iraq to " protect the life of the holder."

I doubt that Japan has applied that reasoning to the many business representatives who have travelled to Iraq since the New Year.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

in a country where it is increasingly about not how but how long one lives, this is to be expected. it is also an extension of the collective mindset, with everyone being linked to/responsible for/obligated to everyone else. when japan was an isolated island hermitage, this still allowed for a sense of duty that incorporated a courageous purpose. once japan started having to define an orientation to the rest of the world, especially after the tragic debacle of ww2, it became all about protection, safety--basically cover your ass, don't get stuck holding the bag. it's understandable, given the traditional values and the scope of the post-war trauma, but still--disappointing in cases like these.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

No surprise. Japanese journalists have complied with the government's orders not to go to Nagatacho for years

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Despite being an apparent infringement of journalistic freedoms, the case has made limited waves in Japan (where there is little public sympathy for people seen as taking deliberate risks with their safety).

This is what gets to me the most.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Right lationz. Their conformist way of thinking is to blame. I cannot believe nobody (japanese public) supports this journalist and his courage to pursue.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Change nationalities. Don't waste your money fighting idiots.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Change nationalities. Don't waste your money fighting idiots.

No argument there

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Typical nanny state over-kill!

The only reason for this is because Abe's nose was bloodied by the uproar over the murder of Goto & co after his cozying up to the "good" arab states. So it "can't happen on my watch" again, issue a blanket ban. Incredulous!!!

Sugimoto is a seasoned war zone reporter - not a death wish, flight of fancy, wanna-be commando. Reporters from all over the world ply their trade in conflict zones. Switch on the BBC and you will see live reports from such areas every day. Yes it's dangerous. Yes it's risky. Yes there's a high chance kidnap / torture / death in some instances. But to deny respected professionals access to the source is simply dictatorial.

And Sugimoto didn't want to go to the live combat zone, but to a border refugee camp under control of the Kurds, not IS.

Classic Abe deMOCKracy.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

If he wants to go and do something to make this world a better place the government should keep their noses out of it. He knows what he is getting in to.

This is so typical of the attitude in Japan, the whole "soto" / "uchi" mentality, where they only want to look after our own and not help others.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I'm struck by the irony of those characterising this as "undemocratic" when the U.S. has had "no fly" lists that forbid any flights anywhere for U.S. citizens who have done absolutely nothing wrong.

Japan is just following the US's lead (which is stupid, but true to form) and they're not being half as restrictive as the U.S.

As for this guy's individual case, he's been doing this job for 20 years. He almost certainly knows what he is doing and is probably at less risk than the diplomats and administrators Japan has in their Embassy in Syria.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Is there a "restraint of trade" law here? He is not some dopey, university dropout idealist otaku. This is his job, he is experienced and the Japanese Govt is singling him out and thus denying him his livelihood. It is also the modern twist on Tokugawa's sakoku (鎖国). The Govt is embarrassing, but - what's new?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is so typical of the attitude in Japan, the whole "soto" / "uchi" mentality,

This is the first time Japan has took this measure.

where they only want to look after our own and not help others.

Excuse me? Which country is extending more aids to other coutries than Japan? Do you think J govt is as generous to its own people?

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

He is a journalist who wants people in his country to know what is happening elsewhere. He is prepared to take the risk and contrary to what some posters claim he is happy to sign a disclaimer saying he expects no assistance from the government if something goes wrong. Reporters from all over the world visit dangerous areas to bring us the news. Japanese journalists can too, with the exception of Mr Sugimoto, who is the only man in Japan specifically barred from entering these two countries. There is something very wrong with this actually. Most of us would never go anywhere near these places, but all other citizens in Japan are "allowed to" enter Iraq and Syria, while he isn't. Either ban all Japanese from travelling to these dangerous places, or ban no one but make it absolutely clear that you're on your own if anything goes wrong.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

All he has to do is book a flight to Istanbul, take a bus to the border with Syria and hand a few hundreds to the Al Qaida guys manning the border crossing.

As if the crossing guards in Syria are going to care about some silly rule made my bureaucrats in Tokyo.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Burning Bush, very true. The UK can't stop teenage girls joining ISIS unless they ban them from flying to Turkey, but I think Mr. Sugimoto is a law-abiding citizen and does not want to be the only Japanese citizen for whom entering Syria is actually illegal and therefore punishable in his home country. That doesn't see very fair.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Hampton

He is a journalist who wants people in his country to know what is happening elsewhere.

If you want to push this argument, you will have to accept that this guy is knowingly headed into a place of greater risk. This puts him, at least, in an entirely separate category from normal businessmen or reporters.

And being a veteran war-reporter is no good if he is alone and ISIS decides to grab him.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Burning Bush

For those who don't know, your passport is owned by the issuing government

You're merely the issuant or holder.

No, this is not true in Japan. (It is true in America, Canada, Australia, UK and many other common law countries). In Japan, you own the passport and the government can only physically take it if they meet the strict conditions set down by law.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is so so wrong, so short sighted, stupid, un called for, etc etc

Glad I am not Japanese

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Doesn't matter who is the owner of your passport, be it the government or the emperor himself! Fact is that it's a serious suppression of his freedom and especially since he is a war photographer.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I'm sure, years ago when I first met my wife, her passport said "Not valid for travel to North Korea," or something like that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Journalist's new passport bans him from going to Iraq, Syria

Make the guy sign a document saying the government bears no responsibility for what happens to him that region, and be done with it

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The same ones who criticize the Japanese government for this are the same ones who blame the Japanese government when a Japanese gets beheaded in Syria. I can go back to that thread and name names or you can thumb me down to make yourself feel better.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Name names. I'm curious.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

DaDude, I promise you I have not blamed the government of Japan for the two recent beheadings. I think it is wrong to decide that only one person in an entire country is legally barred (and therefore could be punished) for visiting a country that every other Japanese person could legally visit. If he goes, he should be entirely on his own, which is a risk he has said he is willing to take.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

My new Phil passport doesn't indicate in what country Iam banned to go to. But many many yrs ago, there was an indicated country. I just think it is done for the best interest. with or without a letter relinquishing Jgovt responsibility if something happen to him over there, the govt would still be dragged along. such a scenario must be avoided。The govt hands is full right now. let us not be an added burden! @lucabrasi, yes there was an indication like that. Just can't remember seeing the same in my son's new one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The fact that it says that the passport is not 'valid' for Syria and Iraq doesn't mean it's illegal or that he is banned from going there. It just means that the message inside the cover of the Japanese passport is no longer being addressed to the governments of Syria and Iraq:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan requests all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer, a Japanese National, to pass freely and without hinderance and, in case of need, to afford him or her every possible aid and protection.

It's up to Syria and Iraq to decide whether they allow someone to pass freely through their borders. Basically, the Japanese government has completely backed down from either illegal confiscation of the passport but they have done it in a way that makes it look like they haven't. Also, there is nothing for the man to be able to sue about. The courts will tell him that is free to go.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You know what let him go. Japanese citizens like this guy just want to be ignorant and stubburn so let him be captured. Because of this, people don't want to hear his parents, kids, or wife cry to the Prime Minister about saving him from being captured. Allow the idiot to leave.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

so why is his passport only got this "do not go" zone in it. while the rest of the population has not. if your going to pick out just a few individuals why not ban all Japanese nationals. id say he has a good case in court.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@wtfjapan

so why is his passport only got this "do not go" zone in it. while the rest of the population has not.

I don't think it's a 'do not go zone'. Essentially all that Japan is saying to Syria and Iraq is: 'Despite our plea on the first page of the passport, we won't consider it a diplomatic insult if you refuse this Japanese citizen entry into your country or deny him aid or protection'.

id say he has a good case in court.

Fair point, but I think the court can simply say that there is no legal entitlement in the Passport Act to have the Minister of Foreign Affairs plead for free passage, aid or protection on your behalf. So the court has no power to order it.

The fact that all others are given this discretionary benefit doesn't create an entitlement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is along the lines of preemptive medicine, avoid serious national controversy by preventing an idiot from the likelihood of getting himself decapitated and inducing Japan to take further direct participation in the ISIS conflict.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Is it criminal to enter countries where your passport is not valid?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No, it's not a crime under Japanese law. Although in some other countries it is (ie. Malaysians who visit Israel)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is the first time Japan has took this measure.

This is the first time that it is public knowledge. Dont be so naive to think that any government anywhere has not taken steps like this in an attempt to control it's citizens.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Christopher GlenAPR. 11, 2015 - 01:43PM JST

Journalist's new passport bans him from going to Iraq, Syria

Make the guy sign a document saying the government bears no responsibility for what happens to him that region, and be done with it

Do to all citizens passport as there will be more independent (unemployed) story and pic selling travelers will crowd war zones. Does Japan has diplomtric relationship with Syria and Iraq?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The means are justified when journalist go there, get their story, photos & report the harsh truths. Its their passion to do this. World events, bad or good, demand that they go there & get answers.

Weather Japan has significant ties with Iraq & Syria are irrelevannt. Lest the Japanese Gov. pull out tha' old checkbook to make a "humanitarian" gesture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru

I meant the confiscation of a journalist passport was Japan's first time.

You say this is an attempt to control it's citizens. But under the current circumstances where Japan has been named as a target, Japan would be controlled by terrorists or Sugimoto if Japan did not stop him. Japan cannot send troops to rescue its citizens, remember?

You seems to have no sympathy on J govt who had to go thru the recent predicament for which they had to consume lots of precious time.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

tinawatanabeApr. 11, 2015 - 10:32PM JST You say this is an attempt to control it's citizens. But under the current circumstances where Japan has been named as a target, Japan would be controlled by terrorists or Sugimoto if Japan did not stop him. Japan cannot send troops to rescue its citizens, remember?

The irony here is immense. Japan IS being controlled by terrorists if it decides to restrict its citizens' rights in response to terrorist actions.

That you cannot see this is tragic.

You seems to have no sympathy on J govt who had to go thru the recent predicament for which they had to consume lots of precious time.

Wow, this sounds incredibly like victim blaming. Bear in mind that Abe decided to very publicly give money to Middle-Eastern countries opposed to ISIS. That's what started Japan's troubles.

Don't blame it on the victims or reporters trying to make a living. The blame here squarely lies on Abe. The deaths of two Japanese citizens are 100% the result of Abe's actions.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Sorry, but you guys claiming this is a violation of rights/freedoms obviously don't understand the larger concept of what's at stake here. It's incredibly selfish for one man to want to undertake personal actions that risk throwing the entire country into disarray once more just for his so-called freedom rights.

This isn't just about babysitting his life, this is an issue of war and national security- isis would demand money again, the family would plead with the japanese government to save him, Japan ignores their pleas this time and then the Country's entire morale gets shat on for ignoring their own citizen in crisis, and the government is put to blame?? On top of all of that, Japan has to send a message to ISIS that it won't permit what happened to happen again, and letting him walk into his death once more is not a way to do it...

All of this just for the personal desires of ONE man??? How selfish.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

His going there could drag Japan into much more consuming situation with ISIS. Japanese all over the world could be put at risk because of him. This is the matter of life. The stupid journalist doesn't understand that but only wants to do what he wants to do.

I'm with the government on this topic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You say this is an attempt to control it's citizens. But under the current circumstances where Japan has been named as a target, Japan would be controlled by terrorists or Sugimoto if Japan did not stop him. Japan cannot send troops to rescue its citizens, remember?

Yes it is, and btw the military has nothing to do with it either. Different subject. Japan can not, and should not be in the business of attempting to protect each and every individual citizen. It's impossible. Travel warnings and restrictions are one thing, but if someone chooses to go to a restricted area, in this case not as a combatant (which should be stopped I believe) but as a journalist....let him go!

You seems to have no sympathy on J govt who had to go thru the recent predicament for which they had to consume lots of precious time.

No I have no sympathy for the Japanese government, I have sympathy for the families of the people who were killed.

The government is not anyone's mother. It deserves no sympathy.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

FrungyApr. 12, 2015 - 12:30AM JST

"Wow, this sounds incredibly like victim blaming. Bear in mind that Abe decided to very publicly give money to Middle-Eastern countries opposed to ISIS. That's what started Japan's troubles.Don't blame it on the victims or reporters trying to make a living. The blame here squarely lies on Abe. The deaths of two Japanese citizens are 100% the result of Abe's actions."

You are accusing Abe for his "publicly giving money to Middle-Eastern countries opposed to ISIS" but that money came from Japan's taxpayers and saving really a lot of people there. You can think like "journalists uber alles" and enjoy anti Abe ideology but I'm glad to see my government being realistic and actually supporting the victims there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This isn't just about babysitting his life, this is an issue of war and national security- isis would demand money again, the family would plead with the japanese government to save him, Japan ignores their pleas this time and then the Country's entire morale gets shat on for ignoring their own citizen in crisis, and the government is put to blame?? On top of all of that, Japan has to send a message to ISIS that it won't permit what happened to happen again, and letting him walk into his death once more is not a way to do it...

Let's take your point a little closer to home, if Japan is responsible for it's citizens overseas then why can't they protect them within their own country?

Your argument is that the government is protecting it's national security interests by stopping a reporter? That is stretching things a bit far in my opinion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You'd have to be blind to what happened the last time the reporter got caught to think that's even slightly "stretching things".

And as for your first question, again, I said that wasn't my point- this is not about babysitting his life. If he wants to die that badly he can go jump in a river for all anyone cares. The government won't stop him. This is about federal-level issues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, this sounds incredibly like victim blaming. Bear in mind that Abe decided to very publicly give money to Middle-Eastern countries opposed to ISIS.

Wow, speaking of irony. You have in the past attempted to associate all other Muslims with ISIS. I think you should get your own thoughts in order and corrected before attempting to place (misplace) blame.

Frungy wrote:

Bull. You're trying to disassociate the actions of ISIS Muslims from all other Muslims, which is completely ridiculous.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/picture-of-the-day/view/in-support-of-goto

The deaths of two Japanese citizens are 100% the result of Abe's actions.

? 100%, huh? That must be that 'new math' that I sometimes hear about. The people that murdered the two Japanese citizens are responsible for the murders.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

An experienced war photographer has vowed to fight the Japanese government after being issued a passport that specifically bars him from going to violence-wracked Iraq and Syria.

Visa was not confiscated. He was fighting on restrictions on visa.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Visa was not confiscated. He was fighting on restrictions on visa.

Right...his PASSPORT was confiscated. Any visa issued would be issued by the country he wanted to visit. Visa's are issued by the country of where one intends to travel to, not the country of origin.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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