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Japanese, Korean backpackers found living in squalor after Sydney fire

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http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/four-rescued-from-fire-at-sydney-complex/story-fni0xqi4-1226974541255?nk=e067b4f4887cbd9bd197ab81fde8a94f

They were paying to live there, I hope they find the scum selling them the beds.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Off topic perhaps, but it's common for South Koreans and Japanese to become pals overseas where there's no hatemongering media involved. Pity it takes a story like this to bring the fact into the limelight.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

The landlord was also Japanese, probably didn't know what zoning laws are since Japan doesn't seem to have any.

-5 ( +4 / -10 )

Yeah, this was run by a Japanese guy. He had a website set up in Japanese to attract customers. He'd been living in Australia for a long time, so he knew was breaking the law. It's just lucky nobody was killed.

Here is the full un-Japanised article: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/its-obscene-factory-site-illegally-housed-more-than-15-foreigners-20140702-zst4q.html

0 ( +5 / -5 )

He'd been living in Australia for a long time, so he knew was breaking the law.

There is no guarantee he knew he had been breaking the law just because he had been living in Australia for a long time. Many foreigners live in Japan a long time and know nothing of Japanese law. If this guy didn't speak English, and potentially even if he did, there is a good chance he was ignorant of the law.

-7 ( +6 / -14 )

Off topic perhaps, but it's common for South Koreans and Japanese to become pals overseas where there's no hatemongering media involved.

You are so right, that's an exellent observation. It seems to hinge mostly on whether they come from the same social class or not (and generally, young travellers who are rich enough to be studying overseas are from the same social class). I've even heard of romances and engagements that conveniently broke up when both sides had to return to their respective countries. Perhaps love will save the day after all!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Sounds worse than the Asian boat people?

0 ( +6 / -7 )

What did these boys get themselves into? Life in Japan & Korea is tough but it's gotta be better than what they have landed into. Probably can't communicate too well in English for travel smarts.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Tough town Sydney. The landlord would've known he was breaking the law for sure. Just like all the gaijins know they're breaking the law in Japan. We just act dumb to try and get out of trouble. Anyway, ignorance is no legal else they tell me.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There is no guarantee he knew he had been breaking the law just because he had been living in Australia for a long time.

What about simple human decency? Would this slumlord want to put his own son or daughter in that squalor? It's because of this sort of subhuman behavior that laws are needed.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I'm hoping Japan Today will find a way to get some information about why those people took up living in that poor condition. Were they on a working holiday and couldn't find jobs or what? Please give us more details.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I tried to imagine an Australian in Japan pulling a stunt like this Japanese slum landlord profiting from the human misery of his fellow compatriots. In the end I simply had to accept that this was yet one more superfluous demonstration that these experts in engineering close quarter living leave just about everybody else standing in their wake.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why the moral outrage? Nobody forced them to live there - these guys are backpackers from wealthy countries trying to save on cash to extend their holidays, not not desperate economic migrants forced to live in squalor and work for a pittance.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Why the moral outrage?

Let's see: Perhaps because they almost lost their lives in that squalid firetrap?

Nobody forced them to live there

That's a hot one. And irrelevant. Anyone operating a hostel or hotel that serves an otherwise unsuspecting public has to meet some basic standards -- and it's clear that those standards can't be left to the individual slumlord/owner.

Eve if your point was relevant, it's still conjecture. We don't know how these travelers hooked up with this individual.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

one persons squalor is anothers castle. that bus looks big enough for a 19/20 year old backpacker. im sorry to hear this fire has cost them a nice deal.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I always wondered why the Japanese I met living in London did similar. I mean, they were from a first world country with all mod cons but lived like complete paupers. 4 to a room, stashing toilet paper so nobody used theirs, labeling their milk.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I've also heard some horror stories in New York of resident Japanese taking advantage of younger Japanese people visiting or studying in the city, like an "intern" who did unpaid garment work with the implicit hope of getting some kind of work visa at the end. On her last day, the boss didn't even show up.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There are a lot of sleazy Japanese in other countries that take advantage of Japanese tourists. Unfortunate, but Japanese are too trusting of other Japanese. Especially when they meet overseas, their guard goes way down in that respect. So far as accommodations, I have seen some pretty dodgy "youth hostels" around the world. Australia is expensive these days, and this may have been one of the best deals in town. Not saying that to support the owner, but for the kids it's just basic economics.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Off topic perhaps, but it's common for South Koreans and Japanese to become pals overseas where there's no hatemongering media involved.

I would be very surprised if they were real South Korean citizens.

They should be Zainichi Kankokujin with South Korean passports. They are born and raised in Japan but they don't have a Japanese passport and they use South Korean passports when traveling.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I would be very surprised if they were real South Korean citizens.

Then be prepared to be very surprised, as many of the Japanese people I know who have lived overseas have become friends with born-and-bred South Koreans.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

war is over. the only people that still raise issue are the politicians looking for political leverage or someone to blame...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Syney is second most expensive city for accomodation. Some young back packers or students went there exploited by their compatriots. Students and backpackers save money. Landlord has regular cash flow. Councils can be bribed for buying silence. Unlike other Birtish colonies, Sydney has some corrupted local authority.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/former-ryde-mayor-suspended-after-icac-finds-him-corrupt-20140630-zsqtq.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would be very surprised if they were real South Korean citizens.

Australia has an unlimited quota for entry of young korean Citizens that can enter Australia on a Work for holiday visa. Japan similar quota. So i would say they are Korean national as last count australia had upto 30,000 Koreans in the year on that visa. My partner is Japanese and the last two parties we attended had both nationalities there enjoying themselves.. The top five countries for first Australian Working Holiday visa grants were: United Kingdom (up 8.6 per cent to 38 782); South Korea (up 8.1 per cent to 29 614); Taiwan (up 57.6 per cent to 28 599); Germany (up 17.0 per cent to 24 687); and France (up 22.6 per cent to 22 539).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The landlord is Japanese man and he charged those Japanese and S. Korean backpacker $ 100/week. He has advertising in local Japanese magazine. He replied to journalist he does not know those peoples were living in his property when Journalists asked him whether he knows those backpackers living in there or not. It's shame. This guy took advantage on his compatriots who couldn't speak and understand English language. He was supposed to be helping those young peoples. I’m sure some young men were working for him at $ 7-9/hr. Most of Japanese own restaurants have bad name about violating worker minimum wages. My friend who came to Australia with working holiday visa was paid $ 9/hr at Japanese restaurant. I told her you can complain about that and the owner must pay her minimum wage $ 16.70/hr. She later changed employers. We don’t know how many Japanese backpackers were abusing by greedy Japanese businessman in Australia. Chinese businesses have been cracking down for violating Australia law in past years. Now the authority should check Japanese business as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Some of the shared 'gaijin' houses i've had the misfortune to visit in Tokyo aren't much better!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Re: Kobuta Chan

A lot of Japanese restaurants in New York have similar situations where the Japanese owners hire young Japanese under the table. Most of these establishments are cash only too for customers - I'm guessing as a way to pay less in taxes. It's infuriating to think of these sleazy older Japanese people exploiting their own countrymen because they can gain their trust. Younger Japanese people should really learn to be a little less naive when overseas - you even have to keep your guard up when dealing with other Nihonjin, which is not to say be scared of everything.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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