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Kumamoto stumbles over plan to recognize foreigners as citizens

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To be honest, if you've lived somewhere long enough and pay taxes, why wouldn't you want a say in how your taxes are being spent, at least in regards to locally spent money?

9 ( +16 / -7 )

But the proposal led to a misunderstanding that they would eventually get voting rights, the officials said.

I always find it odd when apparently wise Japanese authoritatively proclaim the potential thoughts of foreign nationals instead of surveying foreign nationals for their actual thoughts.

Fiction: We can’t recognize foreign residents as citizens because THEY may mistakenly expect to receive voting rights.

Fact: We can’t recognize foreign residents as citizens because WE may mistakenly expect them to receive voting rights.

Do better Kumamoto. Do better.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

It's not about Japanese citizenship but about whether foreign residents will be considered municipal citizens (市民). Everyone living there is already considered a resident and being a "citizen" doesn't actually seem to mean anything. Like the article says, it's just to give a sense of being part of the community and promote involvement. Then include foreign residents in the text.

But people looking for meaning where there is none feared it would lead to voting rights as well. In any case, the pointlessness of it all seems to have caused more confusion.

Here's the Japanese: https://www.saga-s.co.jp/articles/-/1001302

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Apart from voting rights on a national level, all "residents" should have voting rights regardless of nationality. Otherwise, it becomes taxation without representation.

The fact that the residents/citizens of KumamotoCity are "afraid" that foreigners may get voting rights goes oshow just how backwards and insular they are, even within Japan. The City's intent was right and in line with the 21st century.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kyushu is not the most progressive part of Japan so I wouldn’t really hold it up as an indicative example.

Please, get out more.

As a PR for 24 years here, I think it only fair to have my voice with my taxes! But as it is, my Japanese wife never votes and let's me use her voting paper as "her" vote.

It's time for change.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

surely then they will not be required to pay their 市民税, CITIZEN tax.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This article doesn't seem to clarify what is meant by "citizens." No foreign person is a citizen of Japan in the national sense without having naturalized (like, for example, the famous literary scholar Donald Keene, who renounced his US citizenship to become a Japanese citizen). What Kumamoto seems to be trying to define is "citizens" of Kumamoto City.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

However, citizenship confers voting rights, which they didn't want to give …

No, no, no. The inclusion of foreign nationals within Kumamoto’s definition of “citizens” was never intended to confer voting rights. The city’s intended purpose was to “encourage participation in community activities,” and the city can still do that — even by classifying the foreign nationals as “citizens” without voting rights.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This article doesn't seem to clarify what is meant by "citizens." No foreign person is a citizen of Japan in the national sense without having naturalized

That's true, but it appears Kumamoto was referring to citizens of the city, not the country. However, citizenship confers voting rights, which they didn't want to give, so it seems they've realized that foreigner aren't citizens of Kumamoto, and won't be allowing them to become citizens any time soon.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

That said, it's not like Japan says you're not allowed to vote. They provide a method of being able to do so, but most Western foreigners are unwilling to take that avenue.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If you pay tax you should get a vote. If you don't get a vote, you shouldn't have to pay tax.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kyushu is not the most progressive part of Japan so I wouldn’t really hold it up as an indicative example.

No need to slander places you know nothing about. As Belrick said, you should get out more. You might be surprised.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

masterblasterToday  01:07 pm JST

Foreign residents should not be seen as citizens. That's pretty standard all around the world

In the United States, foreign citizens with a US resident visa status can vote in all municipal and state elections. Voting for the US President requires US citizenship, by birth or naturalization.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Since when Laws and Rules are based on COMMENTS??? this is the worst excuse any lawmaker could come up with, how about a referendum or a proposition and let the people VOTE instead this silly excuse.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I posted this last time but we can still see the "But foreigners can't vote anywhere" trope.

Read it and educate yourselves:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-citizen_suffrage

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The city now plans to make a final decision after further consulting with citizens.

That's rich.

Since when does the Japanese government consult or listen to the people?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not surprised. Foreigners as citizens? Japanese automatically think that Koreans will take control of their municipality.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Gotta love the bureaucracy class don’t you? The crème of the crop.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

No, no, no. The inclusion of foreign nationals within Kumamoto’s definition of “citizens” was never intended to confer voting rights.

Um yeah. That's what I said in my post, and you quoted. So I'm not sure why you are saying no, no, no, then repeating what I said.

The city’s intended purpose was to “encourage participation in community activities,” and the city can still do that — even by classifying the foreign nationals as “citizens” without voting rights.

Without voting rights, they cannot be citizens.

That's how citizenship works. And why their plan has fallen apart.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The reason they even considered having foreigners as citizens is to have some good will and attract more to the city, so it seems strange for them to throw that in the trash by saying no wait, don't mistaken it as eventually having the right to vote, no way!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kyushu is not the most progressive part of Japan so I wouldn’t really hold it up as an indicative example.

However, just to handle the needs of the elderly in Japan there will be many more foreigners needed and some type of representation in accordance with that number.

-2 ( +15 / -17 )

advanced nations have dual citizenship,

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

If you pay tax you should get a vote. If you don't get a vote, you shouldn't have to pay tax.

No, if you don't want to pay taxes in Japan, you don't have to be in Japan, you can go home. No one is forcing foreigners to pay taxes in Japan. However, paying taxes is the cost of living in Japan. Don't like it? Don't be in Japan, it's really easy.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

As a PR for 24 years here, I think it only fair to have my voice with my taxes!

You may have been in Japan 24 years, but your priority is clearly to another nation, or you would have taken Japanese nationality. So why would they let you vote?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Foreign residents should not be seen as citizens. That's pretty standard all around the world. If Japan really wants to work on this problem, first they should allow Japanese citizens dual citizenship.

I don't agree with the idea that just because you pay taxes you should get to vote.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Not surprised. Foreigners as citizens? Japanese automatically think that Koreans will take control of their municipality.

Thats exactly the plan of communist china. Imagine Kyushu being flooded by a few million chinese (a fraction of their population) in a coordinate plan carefully crafted by their own government. Please dont be so naive.

50% of the times japanese are talking about "foreigners" they are actually refering to the chinese/zainichi koreans (many loyal to Kim Soon Fat)

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'm shocked they backtracked as I thought everyone would be for it. Not.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

As I stated before, " This must be Japan's Worst Nightmare " allowing foreigners to participate in elections or even vote.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Yeh don't let those naughty foreigners anymore rights... next they'll be calling themselves Japanese if they were born in Japan...heaven forbid...

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

"...The city now plans to make a final decision after further consulting with citizens."

A classic [us against them] policy.

Good going Japan!

You make the world proud, once again.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

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