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Local governments worry over new foreign worker policy; ask for help

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Farcists at their best - bunch of hypocrites that won't coexist with others, but by all means will rack in profits off foreign labor force results.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Accepting foreigners and realizing social coexistence, which have been considered challenges for certain local communities, will need to be discussed, shared and dealt with as issues for Japanese society as a whole from now on,"

Basically what they're saying is "We're not sure the people in these communities want these gaikokujin living and breathing in their space!" That blatant level of discrimination! And japan wants to host the olympics? Don't make me laugh!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"We'd like the central government to legally require firms (receiving foreign workers)...to organize Japanese language education and give them guidance for living in Japan," Yokkaichi Mayor Tomohiro Mori said.

I can never understand this paternalistic culture. Japan is the absolute epitome of paternalism. In Japan everything is either done for you, or there is a State-mandated and enforced guidelines of how to behave. There are rules for how to do everything. There is no space for ''thinking'', all you have to do is follow the established guidelines. So because foreigners have not underwent Japanese ''life training'' on how to ''live'', therefore they are like little kids who need to be taught and told how to live.

How about this, if you wanna work, come, get a job and work. If not speaking the language is an obstacle for you getting a job, then either find a way to learn it, or leave, or don't come at all.

They should just have a similar law regarding foreign workers like Switzerland - if you are unemployed for 6 months, you get deported.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Assimilate? It is japan that needs to assimilate to the rest of the world."

Really?!

And how's that "African hordes,/South Sudanese" issue working, in that marvelous country of yours then?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"we'd like to ask the state for financial assistance"

And this, in a nutshell, is the whole point of this conference and the 'concerns' by all these cities. Basically it's a way for them to look to Tokyo and say they want some brown envelopes of cash passed their way. Doesn't even have to be in the official budget. In fact, some of these inaka-crats would probably prefer it NOT be in the budget.

So give a token for the official budget, but make sure those brown envelopes are being passed around the inaka as well, folks. Do that, and everyone will be happy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In reality, many of the people coming over here for these work programmes are supported by employer or agency staff, who handle their administrative needs, as well as visa/ work permit. They are also paid as part of the programme. They are not expected to go to city hall or immigration by themselves.

I'm sure most people who come here to work as teachers, corporate expat employees, interns, etc., have similar experience and support.

Those individuals who come over here independently to look for work, find it and then have to deal with immigration and the town or city hall probably have some Japanese language skills in the first place; that was my experience recently with some Chinese, Thai and Moroccan colleagues.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@PeepingTom - Assimilation should mean you, as the foreigner, assimilating to the nationals, not the other way around.

Bwahahahaha! Tell that to people who arrived in Japan last week from central Vietnam and Cambodia and have to go to city hall to get a certificate of residency for their employer. Or, do you expect them to be fully assimilated and fluent in both spoken and written Japanese within a week of being here? I cannot believe you would make such a naive and prejudiced statement. These people are coming to Japan by invitation to pull the Japanese workforce out of the poop, but Japan is doing very little to accommodate them, except complaining, of course. And, the real kicker is, the majority of these workers will be sent to rural areas. Yes, you 'might' find some multilingual services in the cities although, it's usually only really bad English, but in the countryside there is nothing! Japan needs to open the immigration door for these people to save the economy, but they also need to open their minds and stop being so selfish and brain lazy! I come from Australia and can help in ten different languages at any government office. I can even get my driving licence test in Hindi if I was so inclined. Assimilate? It is japan that needs to assimilate to the rest of the world.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is just the SOFTEST way they are expressing their opposition for foreigners. In actual fact, since time immemorial people have moved in small groups or in numbers all over the world, and in the end it all turned out well. For example the Japanese in Brazil and other South and North America diaspora. Yesterday, they beat, tortured,expelled and killed some foreigners, you certainly don't expect them today to welcome them with open arms...and while they are at it, half-heartedly, they'll blackmail and extort the central government .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"How many people in Westminster study Japanese for over ten years? That is the point"

That may well be your point; it's not mine though.

Mine is that you should not expect to be served in your own language ANYWHERE in the world, especially when seeking governmental services.

If I a Japanese goes anywhere in the UK incapable of speaking English, he/she will be properly shafted.

Assimilation should mean you, as the foreigner, assimilating to the nationals, not the other way around.

I shouldn't have to speak Bantu to accommodate your life in my country; neither should the Japanese have to learn English to make your life easier in Japan!

Japan is digging its own grave.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

my friends elementary aged children have private english lessons. their english level is higher than their english elementary Japanese teacher. english is an international language. do Japanese english teachers also teach vietnamese, Portuguese, Chinese (dialects), Indonesian, or thai? City hall staff must be so scared.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@PeepingTom - And exactly what do you think it's gonna happen if you submit a request in Japanese, at my Westminster Council???

How many people in Westminster study Japanese for over ten years? That is the point! After ten years or more of studying a second language with up to 8 classes per week and six tests per year they should have at least a basic command of the language, don’t you think? My grandkids are studying Japanese in primary school in Australia. They can all write their names in katakana. Japanese elementary school kids cannot write their names in English.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Reading some of the comments here, you'd think that the municipalities in question had refused to do anything about the influx of foreign residents, when in fact it's just the opposite.

I guess some people have selective reading skills. Either that, they're just looking for an excuse to... well, you know.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Do people really think Japan is a kind of "UN country", offering translations in 100+ languages to everyone, from administrative paperwork to medical treatments at any hospital ? And who's gonna pay for it, everyone included Japanese nationals, because it will be discriminating placing extra financial burdens solely on thoese foreigners, even though the translations services are being made specially for them ?

well Japan is a UN member, multiethnic countries like Australia, US, UK , NZ, Canada etc provide many translation services, english lanuage programs to help immigrnats assimilate into society. If Japan doesnt want to offer similar programs then those workers will go to the countries that do.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

just put one of these robots that can speak many language to delivery documents. Job done.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Accepting foreigners and realizing social coexistence,

meaning we can't deal with people who have opinions and wont toe the line, no matter how illogical the requests.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

My first piece of advice for the people "worried" and "unprepared" for an influx of foreign résidents would be to remember they are human beings, too. There is Nothing serious you need worry about that cannot be easily solved at the time, or at least, will not require a plan to cure paranoia or the uneasiness people feel about change.

Second, big cities that are worried about an influx due to potential, ACTUAL problems, like translation in the case of emergencies, this is Something that's been lacking for some time and shows no signs of abating even in the panic leading up the Olympics and Expo now, so to suddenly pin this as a Reason for being worried smacks of excuse. If you're going to worry -- worry "constructively", as in, worry about the plan you are putting into place. Don't just run around and worry about how others will prepare it for you, and then still worry.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It has been decades since Japanese began complaining about foreigners' non-compliance of waste disposal (many foreigners were, and are still, litterally throwing their garbage throught the windows), about foreigners making too much noise late at night, etc... Decades ! They were been explained the rules, in their foreigners' language, again and again and again, and again, and until now there has only been a little improvement.

These Japanese are being fed up dealing with such a situation : I praise for such patience for decades ! It would have already turned really bad, violent and really quickly in many other places in the world. Gov' officials and local authorities generally don't give a damn. What honestly do you think it will happen when Gov' will bring hundreds of thousands of foreign newcomers ?

Who can honestly think that more money will resolve these basic daily-life issues ?

We are talking about non-compliance of the host society's rules. If you do not want to enforce them, why more money will make that happen ?

Hamamatsu Mayor Yasutomo Suzuki said it is necessary to set up a special agency tasked with dealing with all issues involving foreign nationals

Everytime, in every country, when officials want to sweep problems under the carpet, they set up "special agencies" or "commissions" instead of taking actions now. These issues have been there for decades, nothing is new there, did they suddently open their eyes, after overlooking the issues for decades ?

Moreover, Ministry of Justice is already dealing with many issues involving foreign nationals. Will that "special agency" and MOJ communicate efficiently so that no issue is left aside ? Will that "special agency" take over the missions of MOJ regarding foreign nationals ?

As for foreign language translations.

Honestly, what do you expect when you travel to a foreign country to work, without knowing nor understanding a single word of the language of that foreign country ?

That you are entitled to have anything translated in your mother tongue ? Is this some kind of privilege only being a foreigner in Japan ?

Do people really think Japan is a kind of "UN country", offering translations in 100+ languages to everyone, from administrative paperwork to medical treatments at any hospital ? And who's gonna pay for it, everyone included Japanese nationals, because it will be discriminating placing extra financial burdens solely on thoese foreigners, even though the translations services are being made specially for them ?

And about school.

School in Japan is compulsory until junior high school I think (not it does matter for what I'm going to say), and Gov' officials monitor so that Japanese national children attend until junior high school. Gov' officials do not monitor foreigners' chlildren. Public elementary and junior high school are free (except for books & meals). But Japanese nationals have to take the steps themselves to enrol their children to school.

Why do foreigners expect Japanese society to take the steps for themselves to register and monitor their children so that they attend school in Japan !? Public elementary and public junior high school are free, and opened to foreigners too.

They are that lazy not to register themselves their own children and then they complain because their children don't go to school, they got to be kidding !

This "problem" of foreigners' children not attending school as much as their Japanese national counterpart is not new. It has been like this for decades. And I thought the 1st type of Visa is meant for individuals who can't bring their family with them. So this "sudden foreigners' children education issue" has nothing to do with the Gov' new immigration policy.

TL;DR

Everything is so mixed up. Officials are litterally trying to bring on the table many very-well-known-but-overlooked decades-old ongoing issues, and wrapped them up as sudden & new issues only to request more cash, that it is disgusting for Japanese nationals who endure these issues, and disgusting for goodwill well-mannered foreign nationals who can't completely fit in japanese society, because of such a mess going on.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

i agree with @lindsey. it took me over 5 years to integrate into Japanese society. After double that, i would say i am 30% integrated. Dealing with tax, insurance, hospitals, building permits, planning permission, civil complaints, police matters, local community relations, funerals, care home for mother-in-law responsibilities, pension, tv licence, electrical repairs, non burnable waste disposal, car repairs and servicing...the list goes on. basically, my point is, you can't just rock up in from a third world country and just fit in. Sure you can earn a years wages in your home country in less than 3 weeks, sure you can drink safe tap water, but life is more complicated than working in a factory and eating pot noodles from a combini. why do you think they have signs in combinis on how to use a toilet? this greed led push for mass slave labor will only lead to a mass underground society, a breeding ground for crime and addiction.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Kanagawa ward offices provide materials in around 7-8 languages for all of their common procedures, and remember that English is only the 5th most common foreign language here. They provide official multilingual counselling services, interpreters, and other services. When the 'My Number' registration started, they provided 'How To' documentation in those same languages and assigned staff who were language-capable to support registration.

There is a pool of volunteer interpreters, who help in emergencies, but none of them like interpreting for police related incidents; as they find it hard to remain objective interpreting, and often wish to help the foreigner.

They also have a foreign resident committee, consisting of 24 foreigners representing the local mix, who attend monthly meetings in Japanese (their common language) for 2 years with prefectural officers, to discuss ways to improve life for foreigners in Japan. However, from experience on that committee, it is more of a forum to discuss things and placate foreign residents, as few actual improvements happen. The prefectural staff decide the themes, not the foreigners, and these are repeated every two years with successive committees; rather than listening to what the foreigners want and acting on them. It was a real learning experience.

They have cupboards full of materials, printed and undistributed; as the officer who helped develop them was transferred, and the replacement had no interest. It reminded me of the Japan-Filipino Committee that was formed to help Filipinos in Japan; it consisted of only Japanese members, not one Filipino member!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Lindsay, I think you are being harsh about the lack of printed information available, it is out there. Also, I don't know how many times I've heard foreigners complain about garbage separation and collection, but it is nothing like the rules you must follow in North America. That said, where I do agree with you is when it comes to complicated issues like the juminhyo, or insurance, or the other myriad of things you must navigate the city hall about, that is where the lack of language help can be a huge problem.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Be prepared to watch the staff squirm and run around looking for someone that understands the simplest of foreign language requests."

And exactly what do you think it's gonna happen if you submit a request in Japanese, at my Westminster Council???

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

@Omachi - Surely guides for new foreigners already exist in multiple languages? guides for new foreigners already exist in multiple languages?

Is this sarcasm? The only assistance in foreign languages is provided by volunteer groups. None of the documentation or city advice is in any other language at my local city hall. Even the evacuation and emergency information brochures are only in Japanese. And, as for garbage disposal, this information is only in Japanese and is so complicated that even Japanese people have difficulty understanding it. Here’s a challenge for you. Go into your local city hall and ask someone for a certificate of residency. It is one of the most common forms and necessary for all residents of the city. Be prepared to watch the staff squirm and run around looking for someone that understands the simplest of foreign language requests. It’s called a ‘juminhyo’ in Japanese. This is where the problems come from. Despite studying English for ten years or more they do not have even the most basic comprehension of the language - any second language for that matter. They are too stubborn or lazy (or both) to acquire even the most basic level of comprehension in any second language.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The Council of Municipalities with Large Migrant Populations compiled a statement stating Japan as a society must work on a variety of issues that may accompany the expected influx of foreigners.

All these time they worry about population decline, no municipalities or village can exist without any residents. Now they will get new residents with productive age, now they worry about how give them assistance?

Some of foreign workers that stay here already paid their residence tax right?

Those newcomer will also their share of residence tax when they arrive. All municipalities and village have data of how many foreigners that live in that area, all they need to do just to adjust their service for those foreigners.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Omachi

Surely guides for new foreigners already exist in multiple languages? How to access local services, do’s and don’ts of waste disposal, sound moderation, bus/train access, pet policing policies, etc., etc. These may have been locally developed and no doubt could benefit from being updated and even consolidated, but it doesn’t seem to be an impossible task to me.

Right? My city certainly does, and there are relatively few foreigners here. It is nothing but a quick internet search away. I think these guys are just looking for more funds to misappropriate.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Surely guides for new foreigners already exist in multiple languages? How to access local services, do’s and don’ts of waste disposal, sound moderation, bus/train access, pet policing policies, etc., etc. These may have been locally developed and no doubt could benefit from being updated and even consolidated, but it doesn’t seem to be an impossible task to me.

The new workers are going to be contributing to our society thru taxation and social interactions, so it seems to me that a little energy could be put into making their transitions easier. If these municipal representatives can organise to discuss the issue, surely they can organise to take on this task.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

“ but the project has drawn criticism from municipalities for leaving most of the decision-making to them.”

What a sentence! Cant you just feel the get up and go, face the new challenge as an opportunity to shine? Confident, competent, half glass full attitude of the local beaurocrats? This is what a pro looks like folks. Getting stuff done! Common folks, show us what those Ivy League educations and connections can do!

If you can’t change the kimochi, you can’t change a thing. Real simple.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So in effect what you are saying is that until now, your municipalities, with "high concentrations of residents" from other countries have basically been ignored by you until now?

No, that's not what they are saying. They are saying exactly what the article stated, that they want to improve relations with foreigners.

Otherwise why do you need help in learning how to assist them?

Re-read the article. It doesn't say the municipalities need help learning how to assist foreigners; it says they want to improve assistance to foreigners.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Any foreigner who has been to a city hall knows it is a major disaster, even for Japanese people. The amount of forms, stamps and counters one has to go through for simple procedures is a joke! There is nothing in any foreign language at all. My local has a an English translator there three days a week for four hours at a time. If you are not there during those hours, you are on your own. They will need multilingual services in Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese as well. It’s interesting to see their idea for addressing this issue is to make employers force their foreign trainees to learn Japanese. I guess it’s asking too much to expect Japanese city halls to provide multilingual services for the foreigners they invited to Japan.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

The national government doesn't give a rat's a--- about consequences. They want short-term profits and they want them ASAP. If there's any blowback they'll do what they did the last time, browbeat and bribe the ungrateful foreigners to leave.

The LDP has absolutely zero interest in properly integrating these people into society and as a result these programs are destined to fail as a result. Even well-meaning municipalities, companies and individuals, operating without guidance or from a position of general ignorance, will grow increasingly frustrated and/or give up. As intended really. Among the slobbering oyaji set there is only the bottom line to heed--if you're expecting these guys to look to the long term health of Japan, given their bedrock reactionary politics, you're looking in the wrong place.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

"we'd like to ask the state for financial assistance" ... I hate it when you are right

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Chiefs and representatives of 15 municipalities with especially high concentrations of residents from South America and elsewhere gathered in the city of Ota in Gunma Prefecture for their annual meeting to discuss with Japanese government and immigration officials how they can improve their relations with foreigners.

So in effect what you are saying is that until now, your municipalities, with "high concentrations of residents" from other countries have basically been ignored by you until now?

Otherwise why do you need help in learning how to assist them?

Right, this is just an appeal to the national government for more money.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

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