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Japan's tiny refugee community urges Tokyo to open doors wider

37 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka

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37 Comments
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“They even say things like ‘This job should not be left to these people,’ in our very presence.

Failure to understand that the accepted process is not necessarily the only or best way to achieve the result?

Thanks for this article, JT.

Increasingly I'm experiencing successful J companies that would be delighted to hire refugees for the benefits that their diversity of experience, perspective and thinking bring to the organisation.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

The problem of the Japanese political elite is that they never left a space for foreigners in their society or never tried to create space with harmony and it goes back in their history. here the refugees are also foreigners and now they are using the european refugees crises as an excuse to keep their door shut.

in the rest of the world in every country there is a space for foreigners including refugees, migrants workers and professionals.

now japan has to get out of the old mind set and create a space for foreigners with harmony in the japanese society.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Japan is Japan so let it be. from what I saw in Tokyo today, keep the doors closed.

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

Japanese can be racist sometimes, but hey most country too to some degree. There's nothing wrong with tight immigration policies including towards refugees, but I agree that Japan can and able to do more than they are now.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I would like to see places like Egypt open its doors before Japan. Like minded people seem to have less problems adjusting to society.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Why don't the Islamic countries take in any refugees, How about Israel ? No one dares push Israel on the matter. , The refugees as in the article can not be compared to the so called refugees, migrants, invaders etc. Look at all the videos of them, all in good clothes, just going to countries where they know they will get the free benefits.

Anyway, the so called refugees of today would soon look for better pastures than Japan once they find out the lousy minimum wage and high prices of everything. There are enough Japanese people collecting aluminium cans and cardboard at the moment trying to keep starvation at bay.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Once its done its irreversible and should not be taken lightly. I'd like to hear the proposals of repatriating "refugees" to their own country once its safe to return. Japan is wise I believe and should stand their ground. It's up to Japan to decide and only Japan.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Ha! I studied the language, pay my taxes, joined the pension system, partake in every cultural festival, have totally adjusted my life to be the best member of society in Japan that I can be.

Aaaand they'll still never grant me citizenship or treat me like I belong here.

Why open your doors to more foreigners when you don't seem appreciative of the ones who are already here bustin their humps?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

France opened the doors wider. Just look what they got.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Like minded people seem to have less problems adjusting to society.

The problem is people (all over the world) who make assumptions of the level of 'sameness' too much, and close themselves off from trying to understand people who are superficially 'different'

Japan could benefit from immigration, all they have to do is open their minds that we humans are all in fact, the same species. Why assume people can't fit in, why not take them in and show them some 'omotenashi' so they want to be active members of society?

Japan also could benefit from more members understanding international communication skills, for tourists, business, etc. I'm not talking about language skills, but understanding how to deal with unexpected or new ideas. I find it is the most enriching part about living abroad, and it helped me improve my communication skills with people from my own country as well.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Japan could accept a variety of immigrants, including some refugees from different situations. There are legitimate concerns, of course, but there's no need to focus only on the current crises or one religious group. How about refugees from North Korea, for example? There's no need to demagogue this issue. There are plenty of people in need and Japan is in need as well. Of course, Japan is not so good at efficient action and the measures taken on population decline are so feckless one wonders if we'll have to wait until panic mode sets in. Japan should be preparing by setting up effective systems. But the Japanese managers are so inexperienced (and arrogant) with this kind of action that we're bound to see much failure before success.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan as a nation is worried that it’s 'Japaneseness' my be diluted by an influx of foreigners .Being British, I can boast that I am part Celtic, part Viking part Saxon part Roman part French and a few % Neanderthal. Though my wife reckons a bit more than a few % !

5 ( +6 / -1 )

“Japan should open up a little to them to align itself with the international community,”

But YOU have no right to say, "open up" . . . . get back . .get back . . "get back" to where you once belonged. A famous Beatle tune.

“It could be just 100, or 50. But it would be better than doing nothing.”

Nothing? This guy is an imbecile . . . the Japanese contribute millions of their Yen to help out the international community. One hundred or 50 too many. Keep out!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

One hundred or 50 too many. Keep out!

But you're OK because...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why open your doors to more foreigners when you don't seem appreciative of the ones who are already here bustin their humps?

I think that is beside the, but it DOES underscore how sincerely these people want to be here.

Frankly, I cannot understand how people such as Wc626 can be so cold hearted after reading tough the journey to get here was for these people.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

France never had doors... So lucky Japan has natural ones. Otherwise, they would have been invaded many times already. Japan will remain Japan. Good and bad like any country.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Why don't the Islamic countries take in any refugees

A lot do. There's far more refugees in the Middle East than Europe and elsewhere. The Gulf states have not done much, but Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have very large numbers of refugees.

Aaaand they'll still never grant me citizenship

Why? Have you applied and been rejected?

or treat me like I belong here

You poor dear.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

"but Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have very large numbers of refugees."

That's because refugees tend to first flee to the closest borders. If Switzerland were to have a big nuclear crisis triggering a big outflow of citizens, you'd see lots of Swiss refugees in Italy, Germany and France. You wouldn't see any in, say, Malaysia.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

That's because refugees tend to first flee to the closest borders. If Switzerland were to have a big nuclear crisis triggering a big outflow of citizens, you'd see lots of Swiss refugees in Italy, Germany and France. You wouldn't see any in, say, Malaysia.

What is your point? A number of commenters have said ME countries should do more to take care of the our kind, and as RB pointed out, they already are. So, there goes thst excuse.

Also, I think its fair to note that the refugees hsve not advocated for any particular policy- merely noted that Japan can and should do more to help refugees. So, with that being said, why not welcome refugees from East and Southeast Asia? Refugees need a safe place to raise families and Japan needs the labor. Now, disagree with me all you want, but just take a look at all the conbinis around Tokyo- can't think of one instance in the padt year and a half that I haven't seen at least one foreigner working in a conbini.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Easy to complain about the Japan not accepting refugees yet would you let one or a family take the spare bedroom in your house? No, didn't think so.....

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Anybody else noticed those the people in the. article changed their foreign names to Japanese ones to fit into society? How many refugees would be willing to do that and obey the customs and conform to culture?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Banri Kawai, formerly Nguyen Van Ry, works at a facility in eastern Japan that houses five former Vietnamese refugees with mental illness. He said they had been bullied by their Japanese seniors at work. “They lost sleep and developed mental conditions,”

Japan is obviously not able or willing to integrate or accommodate foreign cultures (and why should they? Multiculturalism is a Western neocon concept), so it's better they give aid money than take in refugees who won't ever be happy here.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The anti-Islam backlash here. lolol That aside, how about taking in other Asian refugees? The ME isn't the only part of the world with political strife.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Anybody else noticed those the people in the. article changed their foreign names to Japanese ones to fit into society?

@Jumin . .. . Of course they'll change their names and disguise their identity. Koreans around Japan do it constantly.

How many refugees would be willing to do that and obey the customs and conform to culture?

That's why the islamic refugees belong in Riyadh, Medina and Mecca. Not in Tokyo.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@Jumin . .. . Of course they'll change their names and disguise their identity. Koreans around Japan do it constantly.

No, Koreans do so because they are legally allowed to and also so they can fit in and NOT be discriminated against.

That's why the islamic refugees belong in Riyadh, Medina and Mecca. Not in Tokyo.

And what about SE Asians? You know, the ones interviewed for this piece.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

So it goes, the minority is telling the mayority how they have to behave.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The refugees should look elsewhere, somewhere that's not Japan. Why should the refugees be subjected to mistreatment and abuses from Japanese? The refugees would suffer greatly, it's best to go somewhere that's better than Japan with modern 21st century mindset which is not as racist and crummy. Leave Japan alone by itself, as it deserves.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Anybody else noticed those the people in the. article changed their foreign names to Japanese ones to fit into society?

@Jumin . .. . Of course they'll change their names and disguise their identity. Koreans around Japan do it constantly.

Well, actually people were told to adopt Japanese names in order to get citizenship. And Koreans who have lived here for 3 generations, perhaps you should stop discriminating against them and they would reveal there true identity. They behave the same way as you, which is why they can 'disguise themselves' maybe you need to drop your ideas of blood equalling character?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan's tiny refugee community urges Tokyo to open doors wider

Urges Tokyo. Which this city is so heavily influenced by Washington DC. Sorry, aint gonna' happen. Thanks to Japan's strict immigration policy.

The "Obama / Kerry" circus should be doing the same . . . . "Go (back) to Syria. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200."

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

education here is quite a problem i think. the ranking of universities is no joke. western countries are not accepting refugees because of mere charity, but out of enlightened self-interest. when u cultivate your leaders/citizens in the bosom of an undynamic (education) system, the result can be dull and self-contradictory to the personal and to the community.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think we need to watch Shinjuku Incident again, even though it's a movie.

It's because of the militaristic mentality that the Japanese/Japan is a unique country/race. And... who, or what gave this cancerous mentality to the Japanese themselves anyways? It's even affected some of the foreigners that originally arrived for a good break in the far eastern part of the world?

Hopefully, if the populace wakes up in times of crisis (no matter how late), or that your own citizens are aware and sneaking out the back door, in the end... the rich are left alone in this forsaken island.

Anyways... this may be an even impossible obstacle (but heck of a solution) to Japan's problem of identity and culture/race. Teach the Japanese themselves, that there is no race. "You are just part of a collective whole that embraces the country's work. ", again. If they are so collective, overpower one mindset that is already in there.

It's weird seeing people fighting and arguing about something that does not exist, yet we made it possible that it should exist, to the point it even changes our own biology. "Purity" of race. You even do know that the Japanese stole/borrowed many concepts and ideas from their brotherly nations. At least Korea had the initiative to invent their own actual written language, perhaps, and be twice as successful being a materialistic nation than Japan wanted it to be for it's own.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

25 years in Japan: currently Israel is dealing with 46,000 some african refugees, on top of being the place to go if you are Jewish and need a new place to live.

this Israeli refugee issue is because Egypt is pointing them in Israels direction because Israel will do something Egypt will not- follow the UN Refugee convention.

so don;'t ask Israel to take on more - especially while in a state of war

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They have their own strict laws & belief, that are not aligned with 21st century secular world.

Perhaps that's why so many of them are seeking refuge in non-Muslim countries, to get away from those archaic laws and customs.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

At the moment there is a story on JT about the problems faced by foreign itinerant workers, which appear objectively similar to the problems faced by a foreign itinerant worker who was also a killer. And the comments section was outraged that the writer would dare imply a correlation between foreigners and violence. Even though the writer didn't. But I guess it's totally okay for the JT userbase to explicitly link the world's millions of Mudlims with a tiny number of terrorists. I mean, they're not foreigners like US, amirite?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'll just say: "We're good, thanks" to the refugees.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Keep the door firmly shut and if in doubt look at Europe.....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To Da Dude: Yes, I would let a (non-smoking) Syrian family live in my spare bedroom if Japan would let them in to Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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