national

Aging Japan struggles to make immigrants feel at home

81 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

81 Comments
Login to comment

I honestly feel sometimes that there are those among the Japanese population, leaders ands otherwise, who would just as soon see Japan fade away and disappear altogther as a country, rather than allow foreigners to enter and potentially influence its culture. In other words, they'd rather Japan simply died than allow it to be polluted by "foreign barbarians." It's sad.

But that's just what's going to happen unless Japan decides to tackle immigration head-on and implement realistic, not-so-common-sense approaches to not only allowing more skilled workers into Japan to ultimately become Japanese citizens, but also ensuring they are made to feel welcome once they do so, rather than this pervasive second-class status that is conferred upon them by default (unless, of course, they happen to be of Western European origin and fairer of skin).

30 ( +33 / -5 )

Keep all immigrants out. Including goofs like me.

in the long run, it's Japan's only hope.

Immigration has already ruined the west beyond repair. It's not too late for Japan.

-18 ( +23 / -40 )

“It is true that some involved in the system have exploited it, but the government has acted against that.”

I have a feeling that any government action against this exploitation is woefully inadequate for a variety of reasons.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

We have a huge problem with Immigration here in the US, and most of the West. If Japan allows Immigrants to come in without regulations It will effect their culture. Keep it regulated to only those who are good for the country. Japan would be nice to visit, but I would have no intentions of staying.

That being said... If you are stupid enough to take a loan to start a business or go to work abroad you have already messed up. You deserve everything you get. Stop blaming the country because you put yourself in terrible circumstances.

-21 ( +23 / -44 )

"The first word Mr En learned when he started work on a construction site in Japan after moving from China was “baka”—“idiot”"

Actually that was the first word used on me as well, good to see Im not the only one

14 ( +18 / -4 )

I always feel like the Japanese do not want me or my mixed race children in their "pure" country. And to be frank as time marches on I would like nothing more than to get out of THEIR country and leave em to it.

8 ( +20 / -13 )

Joseph Velvet got a point. I agree with you, bro.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Is it just myhunch, thay learning a skill to be brought home...."breaking up rocks", could have been learned at home?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"this kind of shortfall is plugged by immigration, but Japan allows no unskilled workers into the country, amid fears they would threaten the culture of consensus."

Concensus? The Japanese I know have a tough time agreeing on anything.

It is to avoid the social problems such as increased crime and prejudice experienced elsewhere. Japan does not have a monopoly on calling foreigners names. That said, multi-cultural societies exist in Hong Kong, Singapore and other places in East Asia, and could work in Japan imho. Perhaps the trick is to keep certain of the more arrogant cultural groups out. "culture of concensus."

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Glad to know one isn't alone to being called numerous verbal insults from Japanese. I know enough to understand and listen to the coffee café talk, restaurant meetings and have on occasion eased drop them referencing how to get rid of foreigners. I sympathize for these ignorant fools, as not all areas in Japan are against foreigners but makes the entire country seem as such. One main reason is despite best efforts to assimilate by learning the language, speaking Japanese, read and write, a foreigner is a foreigner even if nationalized. Make one mistake and the foreigner is too demanding or a troublemaker and it's best if the foreigner leaves Japan. One thing I have learned no matter what happens in Japan that causes disturbance it's always the foreigners fault. A good example, during the Great Earthquake and Tsunami, there was a lot of looting by both foreigners and local nationals. In the eyes of the Japanese, the local nationals were taking things because they needed them, the foreigner they were the only ones stealing. The human rights violation of middle companies needs to be greatly improved but that like most other things in Japan will take some time. By the way next you go to a supermarket for the first time, notice the camera's and outlay, the next time you go in, additional cameras have either been installed or things have changed but of course with a smile to "make things easier for the foreigner" yea right...

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I should get a nurse license. Will they take a male American, over 40?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm with @LFRAgain.

Japan would rather sink slowly into the quicksand than to reach out for help and a have it be a foreigner's hand who offers it.

The rapidly aging population problem is mostly exclusive to Japan, but using cheap labor in slave-like conditions isn't. US, some European powers, etc. they all welcome desperate immigrants to do the jobs very few want and take lower wages and poor housing to do it. It is criminal.

Once I had enough of being treated like an expendable nothing as an English teacher and was able to join the general populace in the Japanese workforce, I was and am still treated like the village idiot a lot. Whenever I do something right they give that condescending smile, rub my head, and toss me a sardine and I just smile and bark and clap like a trained seal. Faaantastic!

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Agree with Timtak; what an earth led to this statement being included with a straight face?

"In most developed nations, this kind of shortfall is plugged by immigration, but Japan allows no unskilled workers into the country, amid fears they would threaten the culture of consensus."

A broad impact to culture of which valuing 'consensus' perhaps more than most countries, would indeed be 'on the list' of fears, but to lay the cause of resistance to more relaxed immigration policy at the feet of 'fears they would threaten the culture of concensus' ignoring the multitude of other complex issues that come with such a decision.

Japan certainly does need to face it and ASAP and statements like the above make it sound like the author couldn't be bothered researching/identifying even the most basic of real concerns.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Instead of turning this into a debate about the wider issue of immigration, let's focus on the "trainee" program mentioned in the article which is a total disgrace to Japan.

The government spokesman has been allowed to get away with the reply "this is not slave labor" but this is completely disingenuous and indicative of the media's failure to adequately press the government on this issue.

The spokesman may well be right that putting employees into unpayable debt and confiscating their passport is not allowed under the program.

But let's look at what is allowed. These workers are falsely labeled as "trainees" and then required to do work with absolutely no training benefit for less than the minimum wage. That's not employers abusing the program, that's the purpose of the program.

The government spokesman shouldn't be asked only about egregious violation such as passport confiscation but also more general questions about the program's nature.

"This looks very much like unskilled manual labor to me, how can you claim the participants are undergoing training?"

"Given that the participants are performing manual labor, why are they paid a trainee wage?"

"Why has your government created an underclass that can be legally underpaid?"

"What is your motivation in establishing a system like instead of a proper system of work visas with mutual rights and obligations?"

Leaving aside whether the US is qualified to be lecturing other countries, if you look through the US report on human rights violations, you will find two broad categories. Firstly there are criticisms of non-democratic states. Then there are criticisms of actions carried out in democratic states by non-state actors, such as gangs smuggling people in the UK.

I haven't read the whole thing cover to cover, but Japan's "trainee" program may well be the only example on the list of shame of a program actually built, run and overseen by "democratic" government.

Shame on the LDP for building a system of modern-day slavery and denying their own role in it.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

None of the comments seem to acknowledge the last sentence of the story, the immigrants are here now. They are doing the work that the Japanese do not want to do but is necessary for the country to function. Just like in the USA and Europe. In the USA an immigration advocate advertised for months for any Americans to take a job picking vegetables in southern California, for months, and no one replied once. Yet Americans like to eat their vegetables. Someone has to pick them. Same is true for Japan today.

To the broader point, Japan will lose 1/3 of its population before it bottom out at 80 million later this century. Its economic output will be eclipsed by Indonesia. Japan will need millions of people to survive as a country during this time or risk total collapse. During this time the US will be growing due to immigration and the high birth rate of Latinos. The current exploitative policies of the LDP will not effectively change much. Japan needs committed immigrants who acculturate to Japan and contribute to its growth, as can be seen in Kobe. Not just a system that treats immigrants as disposable commodities.

No doubt the Yakuza is involved in the current program, the middlemen as noted in the article. Yet another example of the government passing along what they consider to be distasteful tasks to the underworld masters.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Immigration is always an issue for a country that has deep roots, where the US is a country built on immigration and just needs to update it's plan so the people already living in the US are not threatened, in other countries the threat is more substantial,

in Japan with low birth rates the threat is loss of racial identity, loss of language and culture, the same can be said for countries in the EU where some laws are quite strict (Denmark for example)

Immigrants can be helpful for a society to continue- but they cannot be looked on as being the answer to all the ills of one, if you flood a current society with immigrants then the cohesiveness of the main society is lost, and what you liked about the country is lost too- as the country tries to find it's new identity using the new Society that is now in place

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"I should get a nurse license. Will they take a male American, over 40?"

Probably not for a nurse, but as pet gaijin to care for old people, seems you could be in luck. I see lots of ads, even schools for it. Perhaps your the wrong nationality, however, but dont let it deter you. Japan openly practices selective and situational hiring, and in this case you might be the wrong race, nationality, image etc., considered better suited as an English teacher. Demand is high, so they might waive the unwritten race requirement in your case (case by case). In addition to bedpan duties, you could entertain with your English skills! Look on the bright side.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

“It is not a system of slave labor,” an immigration official told AFP. “It is true that some involved in the system have exploited it, but the government has acted against that.”

Once again, an example of a government official burying their head in the sand. If they had properly acted against it, there wouldn't be a problem.

I always feel like the Japanese do not want me or my mixed race children in their "pure" country.

That's odd, I never get that feeling. I literally cannot ever remember having been made to feel that way. Occasionally I'll meet a racist old man who will spout some crap, but I'm not going to paint the entire country with that brush because of some obnoxious old man.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's unbelievable that a government could preside over this. Trainee programs should be there to foster good relationships between the countries. This does nothing of the sort. Part of the problem is that small businesses are being squeezed and they don't know how to grow in this present climate. Several eikaiwa's I know had the same problem. So they squeeze the staff. Nova was a classic example of that, I hope these trainees can find a proper work placement. Closing down a lot of the bad companies down will help the good companies grow.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

FYI to all the people who believe in the "more immigrants=more dangerous Japan" BS: In the year 2013, fewer people were murdered in Japan (less than 1,000) than in any single calendar year since the end of World War II. Annual homicides in Japan peaked at some point in the middle of the 1950s, right around the start of the golden "Showa 30" years glorified in the movies, back before all those imported housewives from China, Thailand and the Philippines and those Nepali and Burmese restaurant dishwashers made some Japanese people so uptight and uncomfortable.

At the same time, Japan's foreign national population in 2013 (2 million) was about double what it had been in 1990, with barely any increase in the overall population occurring. The country is changing in terms of its immigrant population, albeit slowly, but it is not getting more dangerous relative to before. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Why does somebody always have to be seen as an immigrant or gaijin in Japan? I guessits part of the cloud I am not connected too, but its something I just cant comprehend. So what they are different or wearing different wear. I was recently walking behind an Indian or Nepal family to the market. I could hear their converstaton was in the native language. I found it refreshing as i am a gaijin myself. Not once did I feel anything inferior towards them. There were many Japanese walking towards us. I noticed that every single one gave them a dirty eye stare. Why? I thought I had it bad, but none of the Japanese even looked at me, they just gave these people a look of disgust. Why an outsider cannot be accepted, just for who they are?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@innit - not sure why you are sarcastically discussing the treatment of English teachers. What is your point?

Are you saying that the same agent (in this case the Japanese government) cannot treat some groups of people well and other groups of people badly? Has your extensive life experience led you to believe that this never happens?

I will give you more credit than that, so perhaps you are you saying that if you are treated relatively well you should ignore people being exploited?

That doesn't seem likely either - so are one of those people who thinks you have no right to live in Japan and contribute to a debate about improving society if you have negative observations to make?

Or have I just misunderstood you completely? Do explain your logic for us all, please.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Dear Dhonz,

Reading your post, thats some pretty severe stuff. That world is rarely reported on or explored but I have no doubt it exist. I have experienced it a few times, and it really changes you, but what you are describing. Wow. And the apologist say, "well I can say that has never, not one time, ever happened to me" . What a disconnected and ignorant thing to say. So your punched repeatedly, your nose broke, but hey its your fault, just put a rag on it and be happy you got a job and get back to work. I have known some non caucasin people who had similiar stories to you. It really puts things into perspective and the apologist crap is all disqualified by it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The only thing that might make Japan worth it would be owning your own business. The country simply doesn't take foreigners seriously. Been there done that.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"He insisted it was not in Japanese authorities’ power to control the behavior of middlemen..."

So the government here is an inept, powerless being, is what is being said. Who's power is it to stop this illegal stuff, then? But we all know it's just more of the same; the government passing lip-service laws and then fobbing off implementation to the local level, while the local level also turns a blind eye and says it's up to the central government to implement policy, etc., and there's good reason the 'middle men' (yakuza) can traffik human beings in and make them slaves and get off Scott free for it.

There is a LOT this nation needs to do unless, as LFRAgain has pointed out and I also believe, they just would rather die out. I think that's what the old cronies in government would like. But whether they like it or not, unless the planet annihilates itself through war or destruction of the environment, the land and everything will still be here. So they can let in and help immigrants more easily and keep Japan and its culture alive for the most part, or literally be overrun by other cultures in the future.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The only thing that might make Japan worth it would be owning your own business. The country simply doesn't take foreigners seriously. Been there done that.

I don't know why so many foreigners think Japan doesn't take foreigners seriously. I know many foreigners in professional positions within Japan. I spent a number of years in a Japanese company myself. There are foreigners running Japanese companies sometimes in very high profile positions (Carlos Ghosn as the primary example).

Of course there are other examples where foreigners are treated like crap - pretty much the entire eikaiwa industry being a good example. But with eikaiwa, it's usually high-paid foreigners (in relation to Japanese of an equivalent skill set), who don't speak the language, and often have a high sense of entitlement even though they rarely have anything to actually support that entitlement.

The point is there is no central guideline as to how foreigners should be treated in Japan. No one has sat down and agreed upon this and dispersed it to all Japanese. For the most part, every Japanese person is different, and a huge amount of them are very accommodating.

Now that all said, and to go back to your original point, if Japan didn't take foreigners seriously, then having your own business wouldn't do anything for you, unless you had enough of a niche that your business could be supported by the 2% of non-Japanese in Japan (or if you got your business from outside Japan).

I have my own businesses, and without our Japanese clients, we would never have succeeded. The very fact that our Japanese clients are paying us tens of thousands of yen per month says to me that they take us seriously - why would they give us their money if they didn't?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Politicians and bureaucrats sould try to figure out why young people don't make babies anymore. But they can't.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

i cant say that japan doesnt need immigrants. it does need immigrants, but i would also focus on culture of making children. maybe bring some restrictions to media would help i guess.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The problem with immigrant worsen after March 2011 disaster. Japanese were start looking immigrant as their enemy who came to take their jobs and not come to help them. So at all levels they start discriminating immigrant / labour / gaijins / aliens branding them as "Baka" . Japanese companies start kicking and firing those Baka to such extend that they themselve start running out of counry for their survival.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I don't know why so many foreigners think Japan doesn't take foreigners seriously. they do but only the skilled type, unskilled labour from China etc is another story. the traineeship system is a scam, its only used for cheap labour, I know of 4-5 chinese working in the car parts business, there job is just low skilled like striping engine blocks, and draining fluids from cars. they also get less than 80,000 yen a month for the same hrs a normal japanese person works. yes on paper they earn more but what they actually get is another story. the problems you hear in the media is only the tip of the iceburg.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

every day I am watching these trainees in a nearby factory, while dragging heavy steel metals, the shouting of their boss with humiliating words is unbearable, i do not know what kind of training it is, is it to get tough against humiliation. they start work very early in the morning til late night in open air. They are working through out the year, in extreme cold and in the blazing sun, even some time in the rain. ironically the Japanese media is silent on these modern day slavery, while taking other minor issues of their own interest in tossing it up time and again.

Japanese policy makers think that other countries will be poor for ever, so they will exploit other nations, or other nations will begging them to let them in to japan for working, but this will not be the case for ever, now other emerging gigantic economies will also need labor and workers from other nations will prefer to work in the countries. Europe and America is always the destination for high skilled workers. in this scenario Japan may offer many incentives to the immigrants but that will be too late because their society is not ready or they have cultivated anti immigration thoughts in the society. Japanese society should realize that people from other nations are just human beings like them and they are not criminals.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The problem with immigrant worsen after March 2011 disaster. Japanese were start looking immigrant as their enemy who came to take their jobs and not come to help them.

What makes you think this is true? Where are you getting this information?

they do but only the skilled type, unskilled labour from China etc is another story.

That's a good and valid point.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

jpn_guy,

How I would live to see these questions asked. This kind of journalism is regrettably non-existing in Japan. Responsible parties should not be let of the hook with ridiculous soundbites, but should be demanded of to answer tough questions. One of the problem here is that the public care not about their fellow person, and if this person is a foreigner, they care less still.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If Japan follows the disastrous example of open-ended immigration like in Europe and the US, she will commit cultural suicide. I do hope the Japanese politicians are watching with open eyes. Japan can survive and reverse a population decrease. She can not survive open-ended immigration and multiculturalism .

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

A declining population is not a problem. The population of Japan should fall to about 90 (maybe even 70) million, which is ecologically sustainable. The problem is that there is going to be a period of great stress while the population pyramid is rebuilt. Also, we need some hit movies showing women having fun raising babies instead of little dogs. Portray motherhood as a happy and fulfilling period in life. Use AKB members as the stars. That will do the trick.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Let's stop struggling and open our hearts. After all, we are all human beings.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

feels dead here.lots of old people .we call them the walking dead.can t feel the love

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I have my own businesses, and without our Japanese clients, we would never have succeeded. The very fact that our Japanese clients are paying us tens of thousands of yen per month says to me that they take us seriously - why would they give us their money if they didn't?

Japanese people have money. They always try to buy their way to happiness and understanding. They have tried this since the economy started growing. In my opinion, this exactly why they fail to understand and empathize with other people. Japan as a country (on governmental level) spends huge amount on support to regions who need help, but again, they buy their way out. The people "giving you money" don't donit out of any sort of respect for you as a foreigner or person. Watch how Japanese treat people they perceive to be "below" them. Aleays condescending and rude. Konbini staff and supermarket staff are treated with the least amount of respect most people can muster.

I find it completely believable that so called "trainees" are mistreated on a regular basis in Japan. I see how many Japanese treat their fellow Asians - like they are lesser human beings. It disgusts me to no end...

WilliB,

The "open-ended immigration" you talk about does not exist. Japan will change greatly when the unavoidable immigration starts, of course. I think there will be trouble. This nation, however, is so narrow minded it is probably necessary. There is nothing so great here that it can't be improved.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Probably will stablize around 100 million, after the vast savings and pension funds have been depleted. There will be no multicultural Japan, Im assured of that. They will just do more with less (most already do)and be quite comfortable with their insular lives. Any immigration reform will be for more schemes like the trainee program etc. Their #3 economic position will be overtaken by South Korea and India during the transistion. I can imagine a right wing revivial during this stressful time, resulting in more insular behavior.. They will continue to be #1 in many areas, but GDP will not be one of them. There is always the posiblity of outlier events like dramatic changes in geopolitics in the US and China, another big earthquake etc. but a revolution in politics in Japan will never happen.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

WilliB

Japan's bureaucrats have buried their heads so far in the sand that the country is heading towards a catastrophe at full speed. Having a complacent attitude towards solving the population decline is going to crush the Japan pretty hard in the future, so it's very important that it consider ALL options in order to stop the decline. I'm not saying that they should open their borders wide open, but they should definitely make it easier for foreigners to transfer over to Japan and have a more inclusive attitude towards the people that want to help Japan. Let's face it, the country is in decline, and nothing's going to change that if Japan's going to have a reactionary stance about it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@tegomas,

I dont agree Japan is heading for a disaster. Their position as #3 will surely decline, but that doesnt mean a disaster. There will be some pain as the senior citizen population explodes, then stablizes. Japans bureaucrats will continue to have the heads you know where, but it wont matter, as their xenophobic agenda will continue to serve them well once the population stablizes. You can see the disillusionment with Abenomics now. as the people just want to return to their insular world and deflation return, I think most of them think of Abenomics as something silly that wont work. I actually hoped Abenomics would work as its better than the last 15 years.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

if you flood a current society with immigrants then the cohesiveness of the main society is lost

Indeed, in some parts of the UK you might think you were in Pakistan. Few to none white faces and no English spoken as a matter of choice. This is not a good thing, because it just deepens rifts in the country.

Japan can accept more immigration, and I see no reason why it can't learn from the mistakes other countries have. E.g. make sure you have a system that records the entry and exit of migrants. Ensure that illegal stayers are removed, don't allow backlogs to form, etc.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@ gaijinfo

Keep all immigrants out. Including goofs like me. in the long run, it's Japan's only hope. Immigration has already ruined the west beyond repair. It's not too late for Japan.

100% agree with you, my poor country has already been destroyed by that invasion, and in the past we did the history of the west.

regulation is the key, here not a racist, just common sense.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Government sponsored human trafficiking if you have to pay off dept and your passport is taken away from you

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Interesting comments. I moved here 3 years ago because my Japanese wife wanted to go home. I have found the people supper friendly and everyone seems to love my mixed race kids.

That said it's a hard place to be if you do not speak Japanese. While in the West packaging on food is in multiple languages here its Japanese only. Same goes for public transport, hospitals, dental places and city hall. Also due to not being used to their own language with an accent its hard to communicate if you don't speak flawless Japanese. I have given up trying as all got was "nani?" meaning "what? "

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The Title of this article is INSULTING. DO NOT pretend that it's NOT.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WilliB,, I can not understand your comments how Japan will keep their so called homogeneous culture at the time of Globalization, though Japan have tried to keep international TV channels out of their systems,but still you see Hollywood and a lot of pop music from Europe and America in fact the whole Japanese music is based on the European music and you see they celebrate X'mas and new year, they are clothing just like Europeans and of course fast food and there is lot of mixture of English words in the Japanese language. Do you think it is still the original Japanese culture?

If Japan want Olympic on their land then they have to create harmony and understanding with other culture and of course the developed nations make some sacrifices for other nations who are in trouble, this is why they are accepting refugees, accepting human resources from other nations in order to help out other them.

0 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan could try to get over its superiority complex. Living here for as long as I have it's quite evident it has a huge one.

8 ( +10 / -3 )

but it is almost constitutionally allergic to immigration.

Best to take note of europes woes and whats happening in englandistan, would hate to see japan succumb to the same fate, its almost too late for oz and nz now too.

Selective immigration is whats called for here, and don't listen to the PC brigade.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I heard 'baka' a million times too. That company and its employees are history and Japan will be in the same position unless they get out of their gaijin-on-the-brain syndrome. Gaijin does not mean foreigner per se. It means a person who can never be like us; never be equal to us;never fit into our society; a person to be feared, not trusted, reviled, kept at arms length, etc. The young kids are being taught the same as the previous generations so I don't see anything changing anytime soon. My co-workers now don't get it either. Japan in a nut shell.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I'd feel more at home if I could buy Cap'n Crunch at my local supermarket, or if there was a choice of more than 4 or 5 cereals, or if I could buy real rye bread ...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One mans prosperity is the result of another mans slavery. The thought of another man calling another man Baka is the result of his own ignorance and his ability to understand that communication flows both ways may it be negative or positive results. I too was once called Baka and talked about in the Japanese language because I was a foreigner by two salary men little did they know they were Baka because I understood perfectly everything they said. When I got to my train stop I simply said to them in Japanese get a life!!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sir, The ageing is taking tolls all over the world. The disintegrating joint family system, crumbling value system, fading moral values and too much of materialism has taken the toll on elders, who are seen as liability by one and all. It is unfortunate and shows the direction in which we are moving as a society, nation and individuals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quite honestly at the moment apart from the slavery I think Japans immigration policy is great, I choose to live here and would not enjoy living in a society filled with third worlders with different or no values. Or some others who want to intimidate everyone else with their religion, not mentioning any name here. I am pretty sure many Japanese feel the same.

I have also been subject to the Japanese discrimination, prejudice and they are better than us mentality, the way to combat that is to show them they are wrong, show them you are just as intelligent if not even more so, show them you are not a criminal, show them you appreciate high standards and clean living, they will in turn show you the respect you deserve.

You will still get the odd prejudice and ignorance but you will get that every where eventually.

The world is changing and Japan will too unfortunately, enjoy what we have as soon it will all have passed. I contribute to this society and all my neighbours know that, they see me everyday and more often than not want to stop and chat.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

i think i agree with some comments. kind of regret being here as well..but also thankful for such experiences,,being treated not on what u can do but from what ur name is, written in katakana...that a good experience.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yew, Japan. Why do you earn the curse of other nations. Save your nation before it is too late. Just imagine if all the Japanese abandon your nation? You cannot capitalise on the misery and I'll-fortune of others.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

My advice, as an American that has seen the negative effects of uncontrolled immigration in the U.S., and that has lived in Japan as well, is that Japan needs to approach this CAUTIOUSLY. The numbers should be controlled and limited. Japan is still a nation with a unique identity and culture, for now. That is why I love Japan.

The U.S., on the other hand, is a mixture of cultures, that at one time used to be a strength. It no long is a strength - now every ethnic group wants it all about them. It's becoming quite chaotic and political correctness rules the day. Diversity is good, to an extent. OVER-diversity, from which the U.S. now suffers, is contributing to our downfall.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I think that those who simply think a word "Baka!" is used to insult people is wrong. I said "Baka!" jokingly to my own dearest daughter. It is a kind of expression that people in Japan use often to those who they actually feel comfortable being around and feel the closest to their heart. If you don't understand that, you may be having an anti-Japanese feeling within you already. Don't take every word so seriously and wrongfully. After all, you came from a different background and culture. When you live in a new country, you want to step back a little bit and look at only the good parts of the culture and try to bring the positive asset to yourself.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

What I wonder about is when the whole Worlds population is aging...and there are no Young people coming onn board.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

SpeaklikeGandhi,

Well, then, as you should know, when Japanese kids use the word "baka", they get told not to use that word. It's not an affectionate word at all and, as you can imagine, a foreigner, a Chinese at that, on a construction site with a bunch of uneducated working class people is in no way called "baka" in a good way. Don't defend and try to deflect frim his clearly racist and exploitative behavior.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

All this about Japan could become another London with pakistani ghettos or the same immigration problem as the US is nonsense. There used to be many iranians here, after the economic downturn and 9-11, they were gone. Japan does not assimilate foriengers well. Its my understanding that London has very liberal assimilation programs, even providing housing and job training? Its my opinion that England was too liberal with their multiculturatlsm, and did not consider the consequences. Many immigrant communities consist of multigeneration families. This means if I emmigrate, i will latter take advantage of the system and invite my extended family as well. Most Asian countries including Japan require degrees or some specialized training. All others are under some other controlled scheme. As for the US, they share a border with countries that are corrupt and desparate people. Many of those countries have the highest murder rate in the world. They only have to get past the border, then meet up with their family in the US. Japan doesnt share its border with anybody, they can easily do selective immigration with nearby Asian countries, with similiar value system. Comparing Japan to London or the US is apples vs oranges. Most of the immigrant community I have met in Japan are very well mannered, respect the culture and contribute to Japan very well.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It's supply and demand. If there's demand for jobs that the local population cannot fill, then it has to be supplied by foreign population. Ideally, thru legal immigration. Seems the issue is, even legal immigration and legal immigrants for these un-supplied jobs are treated poorly in Japan. If Japan treats this issue poorly, then who's going to supply these jobs?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The US and Europe sometimes struggle with their immigration and minority policies, and right wingers and hate groups are always present. While I dont agree with extremist or antiforiegner crowds, you could say its just a nuisance of having such a multicultural society.

In contrast, Japan has like a 98% homogenus racial make up, with like 1.5% of that Korean, who for all practical purposes are Japanese to the outside world and the remainder 5% other gaijin. You see, however, some extreme paranoia of all things forigner. I dont get that, is there going to be a curry revolution in Japan just because you see some Indian resturants?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Ah. The irony is strong in this one"

Quite honestly at the moment apart from the slavery I think Japans immigration policy is great, I choose to live here and would not enjoy living in a society filled with third worlders with different or no values. Or some others who want to intimidate everyone else with their religion, not mentioning any name here. I am pretty sure many Japanese feel the same.

I have also been subject to the Japanese discrimination, prejudice and they are better than us mentality, the way to combat that is to show them they are wrong, show them you are just as intelligent if not even more so, show them you are not a criminal, show them you appreciate high standards and clean living, they will in turn show you the respect you deserve.

You will still get the odd prejudice and ignorance but you will get that every where eventually.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@blvtzpk

You complain about "discrimination" after dismissing four billion people as "third worlders" who you wouldn't want to live with.

You don't see a contradiction?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Shumatsu_SamuraiNov. 23, 2014 - 07:03PM JST Indeed, in some parts of the UK you might think you were in Pakistan. Few to none white faces and no English spoken as a matter of choice. This is not a good thing, because it just deepens rifts in the country.

Are you saying segregations is better? look at the stagnation of the economy in Japan from segregation. There is a benefits of accepting diversity and it can help generate new ideas and make Japan more competitive in the market. If your open minded, it will ultimately give you a new perspective on the world. Most importantly, it can brings people of different backgrounds together to approach the same problem from their differing world-views and experiences.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Indeed, in some parts of the UK you might think you were in Pakistan.

Well, there's ignorance. Why on earth would you think you were in Pakistan? Why not India, or Bangladesh?

Or are you one of those people who see all people of Asian descent as "Pakis"?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The only thing that causes lack of 'cohesion' in society is humans need to always separate by external factors such as race, religion and nationality. Being from the same nationality or background does not guarantee cohesion, I am sure just like myself several of you have siblings that although raised in the same home and with the same blood, we do not have anything in common. But I get along quite well with my Japanese husband. It is all down to personality and how much respect you show for your fellow human beings. My brother chooses to care about external things, so we don't get along. My husband values character, so we do.

Respect needs to be shown to immigrants, because they are providing labor needed by society. No matter how many babies born to the native population, there are jobs that people born in the country would never do. Those of you who complain about immigration 'ruining' a country, I dare you to stop using any service or buying any products that utilise immigrant labor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Struggles" or "resists"? In any case if that is what people want then don't complain about national pensions being cut in the future too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In most developed nations, this kind of shortfall is plugged by immigration, but Japan allows no unskilled workers into the country, amid fears they would threaten the culture of consensus.

And herein lies the rub. Unless Japan wants the colour of their country to change to "grey" they will need to bite the bullet and take in more immigrants. Of course there are many Japanese who'd rather go back into "sakoku" than see this happen

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I dont mind being the "baka" gaijin, at least Im not a racist with a superiority complex. I have it much easier than people who are not white Europeans. You just have to spend a day in Shinagawa immigration to see what the Japanese really think of immigration and non-Japanese people. They treat everyone there like criminal scum, have no empathy or sympathy for personal circumstances. It is a case of accept we will treat you badly or get out, which you cant do without leaving your kids behind if you have any if you are married to a Japanese person.

Japan is great..just so long as you are Japanese. It certainly appears more troublesome for foreign women, than men. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, people who throw themselves into it for what it is. But anyone with an ounce of individuality, forget it.

I came here loving the place....Japan soon put a stop to that.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Putting aside the immigration issues, I feel completely regrettable that this "trainee" program is sponsored by the government, it is a mask for cheap labour force of unskilled people from other countries. This phenomenon happens everywhere, but mostly for conditions of supply and demand, rather than a government program.

As I read the article, I was thinking of our immigration policies in our country, even though our cultural identity fades a little by the presence of Peruvians and Bolivians and lately people from Colombia, our blood is kinda strong so the mix is not that traumatic, on the other hand, we are also kinda strong willed in our ways, so we accept Peruvian cuisine or adopt dances from Colombia and Central America countries, but it is more like an adoption, we take it and make it ours. Japan in that sense, seems to be afraid of that, even though they dye their hair, use colored contact lenses, and some fix their nose or their eyes... I think it is also related with a superiority complex, looking down unto others, but at the same time they want for them only those that could be "worthy" (I said that sarcastically), it must be blond, or white, or highly intelligent.

I have a friend whose daughter is studying in Japan at the university. This girl is really pretty but not blond, she is also very intelligent, and I'm pretty sure she has many lovesick admirers, she is seen as someone they would like to keep, just because she's pretty and intelligent, but if she was more average, she might be looked down on her.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I went to Hello Work last week to check a welding job I saw on their website. So, conversation went well with the kind girl attending me. Then she calls this company and tells about this person who has worked as welder before, is a foreigner but can speak Japanese very well and matches with all the requirements for this job.

What did this company answer?

"I am sorry, but we PREFER to NOT HIRE FOREIGNERS, we want to AVOID TROUBLE"

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Slave labor. I remember the show "Why did YOU come to Japan?" Interviewed Chinese oyster shuckers on a tiny island off Shikoku. They were women saving up for children's education. Show highlighted what disciplined, hard workers they were. Well duh. It was the first time I became aware of the issue though and watching the show I started to smell a rat.

As for legal immigration, particularly in the US, WHEN exactly have we had one unified culture? In the beginning there many: native Americans and the pilgrims. Immigration has continued constantly since then. You do know the strong economy we enjoy is thanks to immigration, right? You do know your ancestors were immigrants too right? If you're so against immigration, go take the jobs the most recent immigrants do. Pick vegetables or clean toilets for peanuts somewhere. Do your part and take back the jobs for the real Americans. The issue is, we have to make "being American" equate to coming here legally and gaining citizenship, paying taxes and voting. Make everyone equal on that front and don't favor one group over another. That's the unifying culture any immigrant should be expected to adhere to. America successfully implemented those policies for decades, now the problem with immigration is NOT the immigrants, it's the powers that be getting too PC over the issue and pandering to some groups which makes others feel left out...not good.

Either way, Japan as we know it will change. But not to worry. I don't think it will be open to immigration at all. Even without immigration Japan has already been selling its soul for GDP starting more than a hundred years ago. There is nothing to do but die down and give up its status as an international power, or start another war.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan could try to get over its superiority complex. Living here for as long as I have it's quite evident it has a huge one.

Except when they lose a soccer game etc to a "western" team. Then the excuses: they were bigger and stronger than us etc. Back on topic, Japan definitely has issues with immigration

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Lawren

The reason for your experience at Hello Work etc is due to your attitude. It has nothing to do with the Japanese there as there is no such thing as racism in Japan. Its your dellusions that all non Japanese are scum. Have you sought out counseling?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why would anyone want to immigrate to Japan? The US State Department says Japan is tier 2 nation in terms of human trafficking and labor exploitation. Which means, Japan does not comply to minimal standards of human rights. In terms of human rights, Japan is a third world country. The Japanese foreign trainee system that Abe wants to expand for the Olympics, is a slave labor sham disguised as immigration policy. The Japanese record towards foreign workers is woeful as the abuses meted out by some oil rich Middle Eastern countries.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/07/03/national/rights-activists-demand-end-to-exploitative-trainee-program/#.VHiWUFXF8z4

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"The U.S., on the other hand, is a mixture of cultures, that at one time used to be a strength. It no long is a strength - now every ethnic group wants it all about them. It's becoming quite chaotic and political correctness rules the day. Diversity is good, to an extent. OVER-diversity, from which the U.S. now suffers, is contributing to our downfall."

Depends on locaton. The border states, yes. Other states immigration isnt such a problem. Agreed, political correctness has ruined many things. Every country, including Japan of course, has their native language. As I have been told hundreds of times, if I want to work and reside in Japan, I must speak Nihongo. If I reversed that in some places in the U.S., Im sure I would get myself into trouble. Spanish is written on nearly every product and roadsign and instead of asking that the immigrant community learn the native language of their host country (English), I would be asked to learn Spanish. I guess it wouldnt do me any harm, but to return to ones country and asked to learn another countries language, well if I may polietly suggest it seems odd considering Japans approach to this, but you have to be flexible in the global society these days. there are places in the US that could benefit from multiculuralism, but I dont think its racist to suggest that English should be the language spoken for business etc if you want to consider it your home.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why would anyone want to immigrate to Japan?

Yes many of us often ask the same question I guess

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think there is an unfortunate but often obscured truth about Japan that many gaijin come to only realize latter. That truth is that if your not Japanese, then Japan isnt quite ready for you. I can point out many outstanding things about Japan like their excellent medical system, transportation system, technology etc. I cant point out any real effort to welcome foriegners on a long term basis.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ lucracasi

Yes I did see a contradiction. I was highlighting the irony in another post by quoting another post.

After my comment about irony, the words are not mine.

I hope that makes it clear.

@blvtzpk

You complain about "discrimination" after dismissing four billion people as "third worlders" who you wouldn't want to live with.

You don't see a contradiction?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites