Help Me Return to Japan!
Dan Bloom, otherwise known as "Daniel Howard Bloom" on his USA passport, was deported from Japan in September 1996 after being convicted in court of overstaying his original 90-day tourist visa back in January 1992 and remaining in Japan for another 4.5 years as an illegal alien. All this is true, and Dan admitted as much in court, apologizing to the judge for violating the law, while at the same time explaining (in vain, as it turned out) that the reason he overstayed his visa was because he suffered from a medical condition at the time -- post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a close brush with death in a burning DC- 8 in June 1983 over the skies of Alaska (that eventually landed safely in Fairbanks but left Dan scarred with a severe terror of flying; he never flew for 8 years after the accident and only managed to get to Japan in October 1991 through the use of valium and sheer will power; when he was supposed to fly out of Japan 90 days later, as required by law, he tried to negotiate with the Japanese immigration authorities in Tokyo but got nowhere; in his panic/fear/disorder Dan just did what many phobics do in such a situation: he did nothing. He just remained in Tokyo, let the deadline pass, stayed put and felt okay. He knew he was violating the law, and he was not proud of such an act, but he had no choice, as many phobics will understand. Paralyzed with fear of flying so soon after flying to Japan 90 days before, Dan did nothing, feeling he had no choice, and then decided to remain in Japan where he had a job at the Yomiuri Shimbun as a newspaper reporter/copyeditor. Aware that he was an
underground man," Dan tried his best over the next 4 years to try to find legal help to get him out of his mess, but such help in hard to come by in Japan. So Dan just endured, went to work every day, paid his taxes, came to love life in Japan, and kept hoping for a miracle. Being a man of positive thinking and a lifelong optimist, Dan felt that the Japanese government would understand his problem and if not forgive him, at least deport him and let him return after a year. However, once arrested and tried and convicted, Dan was deported and then his name was place on a 50-year blacklist, stating that he could not return to Japan until 2046. At which time, blading, greying Dan will probbably be dead as a doornail._____On October 30, 1997, Dan flew to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, hoping to be allowed in to attend the International Film Festival in Tokyo in early November, but even though a year had passed since his deportation, Dan was refused entry at Haneda and sent back to Taiwan, where he lives and works. When a potential Japanese employer applied for a certificate of eligibility for Dan in Tokyo, with the offer of a job, the Immigration Bureau informed Ms. Y of E Company Ltd that Dan's application had been rejected and that his case was "very difficult." Very difficult? A professional journalist and textbook writer who suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a near-fatal plane accident in 1983 is blacklisted from Japan for 50 years? It doesn't make sense, not in a hunanitarian sense. Dan Bloom did not violate the law with a criminal intent, as many overstayers do, nor did he try to sneak into Japan on a tourist visa so he could remain in Japan after the 90-day visa deadline was up and work in the underground labor market, as many Third World laborers do. Dan was hired by the Yomiuri Shimbun, worked steadily, paid his taxes and medical insurance premiumns, paid into the national pension fund, paid all his phone bills and credit card bills -- in other words, he was a model foreign worker (except for one thing: he had not flown out of the country after 90 days as required by law due to his flying phobia). Dan's desire to return to Japan is born out of his love for Japan and the Japanese people. He does not understand why the Japanese government feels it must blacklist him for 50 years when his only real crime was having a medical condition that caused him major career problems. He admitted his guilt in violating the law, said he was very sorry, spent a year outside Japan hoping to return after a year was up, only to be told at Haneda Airport that he could not enter Japan for 50 years. Is this fair? Is this right? No. However, every country can keep anyone it wants out, and Japan is merely following international guidelines in putting Dan on its immigration blacklist. However, it does not have to be so strict. Dan was a very good foreign resident of Japan, and never caused trouble there. He worked for a major newspaper, contributed an essay on Tora-san to the Shochiku Studio's Internet homepage, wrote a textbook for students in English, paid his taxes and made friends with many Japanese people in the Tokyo area. He was a goodwill ambassador of friendship and internationalism all the time he was in Japan. Now for the Japanese government to blacklist Dan for 50 years is silly, and hopefully this webpage can help bring Dan Bloom back to Japan, if only as a tourist from time to time. Maybe even to work there again, with a proper work permit this time! Yes, Dan Bloom desevers a second chance. If you would like to be enlisted in ending the blacklisting of Dan Bloom, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org --- We will be trying to contact the Japanese government, media and friendship groups with information about Dan's dilemma, in hopes of getting the government to relax its blacklisting of a true friend of Japan. It simply does not make sense to keep Dan Bloom out of Japan, not when he is such an ardent champion of US-Japan friendship and goodwill. Surely the bureaucracts in Kamsumigaseki who decide Dan's fate can be made to see the light and let Dan back in. Even the prosecutor in Dan's case, who initially indicted Dan on July 24, 1996, told Dan to his face that he hoped he could come back after a year and be a good friend of Japan! This was from the chief prosecutor, after interviewing Dan in person. And now this: a severe 50-year blacklisting of a man who never intended any harm to Japan or its national security. He just sufffered from a very unusual and career-harming medical condition that in most countries is recognized as a bona fide medical condition. However, the Japanese authorities quite obviously have not considered Dan's medical problem and have simply stuck his name in a bureaucratic machine that does not differentiate good from bad, or case by case. It is the hope of this webpage, that with a show of good faith and public support, Dan Bloom will be allowed to return to Japan in the near future and his name will be taken off the blacklist. _____(This page is dedicated to the memory of actor Atsumi Kiyoshi, who played Tora-san in 26 TV episodes and 48 feature films. It is hoped that with the help of Yamada Yoji, Kenzaburo Oe and Haruki Murakami -- people Dan came into contact with while in Japan from 1991-1996 -- the government can be persuaded to let Dan return to Japan someday. It's a pity to keep him out, as if he were a hardened criminal who had killed or raped or embezzled! All he did was overstay his visa in a terribly embarrassing situation. Certainly, the great nation of Japan can find the warmth in its communal heart to let Dan Bloom back in!)