Gaijin Gulag swallows a new victim

You’ve probably all heard the story about Michael Q Todd, the dolphin-botherer-botherer who got nicked in Taiji for not having a passport and chucked in the Gaijin Gulag (© CJ). When the story first broke I had a soupçon of sympathy for him as he apparently had a fiance and a child in Tokyo, but now it has all vaporized. An update on his fundraising page says (scroll to the bottom):

Michael is in Japan on a tourist visa.

His LinkedIn profile suggests that he has been running a company for seven months – two tourist visas plus an overstay, perhaps – in Tokyo. Strike One!

Michael knew his Japanese visitor’s visa was going to expire and [his fiancé] reports that he had applied for an extension.

You cannot extend a visitor’s visa except in exceptional circumstances, or by doing a visa run… Strike Two!

Before he connected with the Canadian filmmakers, he was then asked to produce his passport by the authorities. He could not produce it as he had left his passport in Yokohama where he has lived with [his fiancé].

Not carrying your passport as required by law. Strike Three!

There’s a bit of extra information/rumour/scandal in a Japan Probe comment here, and Eido clears up tourist visa issues here.

Perhaps after deportation he can ask Christopher Johnson to write up his case? :roll:

Leave a comment ?


  1. @BTW:

    I actually agree with you there at a high level … but just because we and others agree on that doesn’t mean the existing laws don’t exist or are invalid, can’t be enforced, or the threat of being sued is non-existant.

    Here’s why your “mafia” analogy is flawed, by the way: When the mafia makes a “veiled threat” like you describe it’s a threat because they are the ones who will carry out the action. When somebody who can’t execute the threat warns someone of a consequence to their actions, it is indeed “help”. Thanks for playing!

  2. @Psuedonym:

    I now disagree with Debito about that.

    Well done. You’ve taken the first step. Keep going.

  3. @Mike Oxlong: I am in love with this post and want to marry it.

    Well played, sir. Well played….

  4. @Impressed: ‘wants to keep his personal life separate’?

    I doubt it. We’re talking about the guy that wrote this for the entire world to see:

  5. @Havill

    Upon further consideration, I guess I owe you an apology.

    It was totally unfounded speculation on my part, to claim that you were maliciously implying you would help Keene legally punish Debito.

    My apologies. I was assuming, based on the general tone here, that in your heart you hope Debito gets punished somehow someday. Sorry about that.


    Well, slightly because of your prodding, and mainly because I simply like to speak my mind fully and honestly, I will keep going:

    I have come to the conclusion that private businesses
    have the right to refuse service to anyone. Period.

    For racist reasons, for sexist reasons, for “I don’t like homosexuals” reasons, for “I don’t like tall people” reasons, for whatever reasons, people have the right to do discriminate about how they do business with.

    Here are a bunch of freedom loving people who happen to not like homosexuals.

    To me, even though I disagree with their beliefs about homosexuals being bad, I feel that this article, and the comments below it, are logically stating that the government has no business forcing private businesses to become public businesses.

    IMO, Public places can’t discriminate, they must serve all.

    IMO, Private places can discriminate, they don’t have to serve all.

    So my previous posts on the issue were, in retrospect, wrong.

    Yep, I was wrong when I said that Japan needs to punish racist actions like words or or banning or shunning (actions which cause only emotional harm.)

    Governments only need to punish people who PHYSICALLY harm people’s bodies or property. The end. One Law that covers everything, in my current opinion.

  6. @AM:

    Apology accepted. No worries.

    P.S. as you keep (needlessly BTW… providing you’re taking other precautions) changing your nick, I sense you’re concerned about revealing your identity, so here’s a tip for the future:

    Twitter, Blogger, etc change the TLD to an local one so that a DMCA etc like court order can’t take them down globally; when forced to by law, they can comply disable content locally per country, rather than globally, leaving the content accessible to others outside the jurisdiction of the legal order.

    HOWEVER, make sure you change that “.ca”, “.in”, “”, “.jp” etc back to “.com” — as it hints to people you probably accessed that link from Canada.


  7. getting really fucking nerdy in here……..

  8. @iLikeDolphins: No one’s forcing you to stick around, dolphins, let alone continue to post post post post post.

  9. @Simon

    He is just miffed that he got whooshed by havill.

  10. @AM:

    We all have our reasons for thinking Arudou is going about things the wrong way. I’m not a libertarian, and so don’t draw a thick line between private and public at what is state-funded and what is not. I’m quite happy to say that a bar owner’s right to refuse custom does not extend to refusals based on ethnicity/religion/sexuality etc. Businesses to me are public places in a way that one’s home is not, which is a view held probably by most people and politicians in my country of origin. As the old joke goes, don’t get me wrong – I’ve nothing against stupid bigotry so long as it’s conducted behind closed doors and not shoved in other people’s faces.

    Where I think Arudou is wrong about this “Japanese only” shtick is
    (a) his massive exaggeration of the extent of the problem (in a solipsistic fit, he seems to think each time he finds a “Japanese only” sign it’s evidence of increasing prejudice: it’s as if things only exist if he perceives them). Personally, I’ve never seen a bar with a Japanese only sign. Of course they exist, but it’s not as if they’re a feature of my life here or of any of my foreign friends that I recall. Such signs are wrong, but let’s not start making crap up about how widespread they are.
    (b) what to do if a sign is found (his “solution” is to post a photo on an ill-formatted English-speaking blog – rather than engage with the owners, or work with Japanese groups to bring an end to such practices). He doesn’t want to solve problems of prejudice. He needs examples (and manufactures them often enough) in order to maintain his wrong-headed US liberal-fuelled fantasy of being Martin Luther King for Middle-Class White Men
    (c) what these (very rare) signs say about the endemic/real/essential nature of the whole Japanese population in general. (Arudou, like many too many western gaijin, seemed to turn up on these shores obsessed with the essentially racist idea that “Japan” is an irretrievably racist society virtually physiologically incapable of being otherwise – like pre-desegregation Alabama with the clocks frozen)

    One of Arudou’s overall goals seems to be to create mistrust between foreigners and ethnic Japanese. Why else have such an obsession with Donald Keene (or Tony Lazlo, or anyone not of Japanese ethnic origin in the public eye who appears to be doing pretty well)? Why speak almost all of the time to foreigners, and not to Japanese? Why ban or cut off contributors to his blog who say their haafu kids don’t get bullied at school, or that they’ve never been carded by the police, or who protest at the eugenics-based comments of other posters?

    pace Level3, but to me the fundamental problem with Arudou isn’t his non-libertarian politics. It’s that he spouts bollocks about Japan.

  11. In other news:

    “Get written confirmation of all oral advice”

    I’m not sure if that’s what he has to do, or what he failed to do. If it’s the latter, one wonders what kind of lawyer he was.

  12. @VK: I suppose that it was his “I was promised an email” and “I was told they were processing my extension”

    I also came across this:

  13. @Ken Y-N:

    Using your brains to think of an idea and your skills to implement it? That’s the old model.

    Love it.

  14. Whooshed is computer nerd slang for anal?

    Not really up on the otaku lingo, but I can tell you he hasn’t taken a google up there.

    Anyway Simon, no-ones forcing you to read, read, read. Stay in the background with all the other pre-pubescent English Teachers. You’ve already failed in life once, there’s no need to take on the big boys. Besides, you need to rest your voice, you’ve got to sing the alphabet song at work today right?

  15. @Dfmoss:

    You’re far closer than you might think. A friend who knows Keene and has similar (negative) feelings about David had lunch with Keene several months ago after David’s JT column. Keene’s basic response was “who?” and essentially “so?” I think that is probably the root of David’s problem with Keene, that David doesn’t even warrant a footnote in their opinion.

  16. Photos of MQT at the anti-whaling, anti-dolphin hunt protest on 24th November
    Japanese Citizens Protest Against Japan’s Dolphin Hunting and Whale “Research”

    Posted by Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky and Jake Adelstein.

    Not sure if this is significant considering his bail conditions.

  17. In case you’re wondering, MQT is in this photo – he’s looking back, smiling at the guy being held back by the police, probably thinking, “boy,that could be me. Where’s my passport again?”

  18. @answers.please:

    Also in this one, far right.

  19. Amazing he is in 2 photos considering the article goes out of it’s way to focus on the Japanese protestors. 40/70, I suppose majority is correct, but it’s really trying to push that angle and how did they decide? Visual check or maybe remote ID scanners? Surely not checking passports?

  20. @VK:

    Sorry, the leftie comment was just a self-deprecating joke. I get what you’re saying though. “Is it worth fighting the system for this guy?” is the question.

    Likewise, I get Level 3’s point about if it is legitimately not his fault, and if it could happen to any of us if we’re not like. Having a blind attitude to things like this and saying “it could never happen to me” is of course unhealthy, and examining his situation is in a way doing one’s duty.

    I didn’t reply sooner because I didn’t really have anything to add, but I enjoyed reading your opinions.

  21. Meanwhile..

    Michael Q “I am not associated with an activist group of any type” Todd apparently spent part of his Saturday participating in a dolphin-loving protest march.


    Though I just say “apparently” because I’m sure him walking in the street with the protesters, holding a sign, and then blogging about it and how the dolphins love us is not any kind of “involvement” and I would be shocked if anyone would assume so.

    Hat tip to Screwed-down hairdo @ FG, check Jake Adelstein’s site for the photos.

  22. @Level3:

    Oh, you guys already posted this. :facepalm: to me.

  23. @Level3: I don’t see him holding a sign. I see him taking a photo.

  24. @wagyl:

    OK, guess this isn’t him, thought the bag was the same and clothes same, but looking more carefully I think the shoes are different and it’s faded jeans vs. faded cargo pants.×768.jpg

    I must be getting racist, so hard to tell one aging white gaijin loser from another. :wink:

  25. Geez, Level3, some of the dolphin-friendly nutbags over at Japana!subculture didn’t quite latch on to your acquired taste in ironic detachment with a side dish of ‘I hate everyone white except me’.

    Not quite understanding Jake Adelstein at the moment unless Christopher Johnson was kind of right about him being a bit of a faker. He might actually really just be in it for the pussy. Those two might be similar at the end of the day. Have I uncovered a little bit of the truth from reading a hard hitting CJ exposè? Its possible. It’s possible.

    Yakuza crime reporter on hand for genesis of Japanese grassroots rebellion against Flipper meat? (even if said NPO has been around since 1976!)

    Christ, I’ve got to get resigned to the fact that pretty much all gaijin in Japan are wayward liars, even you Level3, I’m getting the feeling you’re actually an English teacher, am I right?

    You spend WAY too much time all over the Internet for someone who works 14 hour days without any breaks…. :roll:

  26. @iLikedolphins: However, over on Twitter CJ seems to be trying to be Jake’s BFF, Twatting his praises. :roll:

    And lock up your booze cabinet, CJ seems to be back in Japan :!:

  27. And bashing Level3 at the same time! CJ was over on Jake’s ‘news site’ singing his praises too. brothers in arms. Nice job photoshopping yourself into a ‘desert campaign’ background @Christopher Johnson

  28. @Ken Y-N: Went directly to the source? Nobody talked to the dolphins.

  29. @iLikedolphins:

    I never said I don’t take breaks. CFD meshing is a bitch, leaves one lots of 5-15 minute waits.

    Happy to see I’ve riled up the troops. Nothing pisses these kind of posers off more than the truth. They doth protest too much. If there weren’t a chance for minor fame, parties and chicks, a lot of them would be looking for some other cause to use. Saying “I Love the Earth [so give me attention and money]” is the easiest con of the 21st century.

    Not much pisses me off more than posers using environmental issues to seem noble and grab funds that could be used to actually solve problems, while accomplishing nothing but attention whoring. My colleagues and I (“colleagues” meaning people I actually work with, as opposed to the CJ definition) earn our environmental cred, and would be happy to have more cash to get better equipment.

    Those posers don’t earn it, but they’re happy to take it and spend it on booze.

  30. @iLikeDolphins:

    BTW, I respect Jake’s site and work. And I won’t flip flop on that like some other psychos.

  31. Just a quick note that tonight’s live YouTube show with hikosaemon and victor will have mr Todd on tonight.

    I’m not too interested, but thought some folks here may want to hear what he says.

  32. @Beneaththewheel:

    I’m interested in knowing what really happened with the visa situation, so I’m assuming there’s no point in tuning in.

  33. @Level3: Amazing! How could you have guessed? The other two dudes were surprisingly ignorant of immigration things and the hat one was always shut down when he came close to asking a useful question. Video but I wouldn’t bother

  34. new thing, the immig receipt of application pending that he hadn’t heard of before comments here, now magically he remembers having one and showed it to police within 12 hours of his arrest. Says his extension application was now approved and had a visa now, but didn’t say what flavor it was. Oddly, he refers to the lady his fiancee all the time but they congratulated him for his recent marriage, he stayed silent on this and looked shifty. So i don’t think it was a marriage visa. And he paid money back in secret, but some people didn’t want it and they were all his friends anyway

  35. I didn’t make it through the video at all.

    But I did notice a “related video” link that caught my attention:



  36. @Impressed:

    So, the story is he was held in jail for about 2 months for absolutely no reason… and now he doesn’t even know if he’s married or not?

    No sense does this make.

  37. @Level3:
    Well, yeah … he’s a con artist. Nothing that he says can be believed unless it has corroboration.

    IMO he’s more deserving of a watchdog than Dave is. Dave has thoroughly discredited himself as an expert on {human rights,Japan,personal relationships,activism}; this bozo can still do damage. He fits five of the DSM-IV criteria for sociopathy, bless his heart.

  38. The first thing to be aware of is that Hikosaemon knows him personally; they used to play on the same rugby team, so he’s not going to do a challenging interview (not that he is that sort of person anyway.) It’s clear from the outset that he’s not interested in why people are suspicious about a friend of his.

    I had it on in the background for a bit. I may have missed some bits and I’ve haven’t listened to everything, but here’s my impression: he’s clearly charming, but the version of events he gets to present, while sounding superficially plausible, simply isn’t consistent with things he and his friends have said elsewhere (and a few times he is allowed sharply to steer the conversation right away from areas where his story is suspect).

    Two stark examples of this: he said his visitor visa expired in “early June”, yet elsewhere he said it was 26th July (After what he’s been through, he’s not going to be fuzzy on something like that!) He talks repeatedly about his “fiancee”, yet elsewhere he’s already married. Again, not something one would get wrong.

    There’s more. It’s all a bit odd. I’m guessing his actual offence can’t have been that serious, otherwise he wouldn’t have been released. So why the untruths? Hikosaemon calls these sorts of questions about MQT “trolling”, but if someone publicly contradicts themselves on key issues, is it trolling to ask what’s going on?

  39. Haha,

    You all call shit you don’t like to hear, ‘trolling’!

    More and more, Japologism and Debito are sounding like the Yin and Yang of selective listening and ‘dividing by zero’, is that what the kids are saying?

    I’m glad you all need each other to itch that thing.

  40. @VK:
    I just wanna know, WTF happened here? :cry: Visa issues are important for all of us.

    That’s the question that will apparently never be answered. Well, we can assume** it wasn’t a major crime or he would have been jailed long-term or deported, so why not just skip the evasiveness? He could have shared his experience with the gaijin community, teaching a valuable lesson about what (not) to do when your visa is expiring, expired, or really really expired, but seems to have decided not to.

    Why not?

    Perhaps some plans previously hinted at have been blocked? Perhaps he still isn’t really in the clear with Immigration? But if so, should he be talking in public at all?

    No sense does this make!

  41. @iLikedolphins:

    Your reading comprehension is not so good. Perhaps you are an eikaiwa teacher?

  42. Here’s and interesting development (found via a post at our sister site, incidentally.)

    A minor victory for Japologism’s resident international journalist. In response to his campaign against the high cost of involuntary repatriation flights, the Ministry of Justice has taken action in order to reduce the cost of the tickets:

    The Ministry of Justice has decided to start using chartered planes to forcibly repatriate non-Japanese residing illegally in Japan in a bid to cut costs, it has been learned.

    See? They do listen to us Gaijin after all.

    And if it keeps the occasional expiring deportee out of the public eye to avoid a whole lot of unnecessary meiwaku, well that’s just upside, isn’t it?

  43. ??? How is that cheaper? Private jets rather than commercial airlines?

    Or am I missing some irony here? :shock:

  44. @Not a hater: Charter planes. Think cheap package holidays. So long as you can fill up the planes, it’s way cheaper.

  45. Judging from the story, I think it will only apply to people from countries to which there are a lot of people regularly sent back – it mentions China, South Korea and the Philippines.

    I don’t think that includes Canada, which is of course further evidence of implicit “J” prejudice against overweight middle-aged white men who definitely don’t drink too much on flights.

    What would worry me, on the other hand, is if some people are held in detention for a long time while they wait for a plane to reach its quota.

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