politics

Foreigners' perspective on election barely discussed despite growing presence

104 Comments
By Junko Horiuchi

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Can't vote so ignored. Koike can shove her diversity if she made people sign no foreign voting pledge!

19 ( +23 / -4 )

I don’t recall another nation where during an election they start trying to appease a small section of the population who have no vote.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

The last thing Japanese political parties need are foreigners asking what their policies actually are or even suggesting a policy! Nope best remain distant from any reform.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

I don’t recall another nation where during an election they start trying to appease a small section of the population who have no vote.

Most countries want to present themselves as "tolerant" and "promoting diversity". There are many foreigners in Japan, as you must know, working in factories, on farms, digging the roads, building houses; Keidanren wants their labour (low pay, no human rights, go home quick) but not them.

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/japan-subaru/

A while back the LDP promoted a scheme to attract "elite gaijin". How many people applied? Almost none. Why? Because of attitudes like this. Japan can attract young Vietnamese to work in combinis but no "elite gaijin" (lol!) are coming. Why would they?

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Cue lots of foreigners bleating about not being allowed to vote because they are not Japanese citizens. Become a Japanese citizen then! Stop wanting to have your cake and eat it.

-22 ( +6 / -28 )

Kawabegawa do you know how hard to do that is? That is a precarious undertaking. And IF magnanimously citizenship is bestowed being a foreigner in a society where conformity is prized is fraught with daily challenges. Those that do it should be prized as they truly love Japan. And take nothing for granted.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

@kawabegawa198: I pay the same taxes, social security, land taxes, local taxes, income taxes, GST and tolls that you do, shouldn't I get some say?

19 ( +26 / -7 )

Cue lots of foreigners bleating about not being allowed to vote because they are not Japanese citizens. Become a Japanese citizen then! Stop wanting to have your cake and eat it.

OK, that's a perfectly valid point of view. But that's still only half of the issue.

What do propose we do to make up for the loss of entrepreneurs and skilled foreigners who might deliberately avoid coming to Japan because they prefer to settle in a country which offers better political participation for immigrants? (ie. dual citizenship, local voting for PRs etc). Japan is in a global competition for talent with every other country.

Years ago I refused a transfer to a country in Europe simply on the basis that they didn't allow for dual citizenship. I wasn't even planning to live there for more than 5 years but just the idea of not being able to become a citizen unless I give up all of my other passports was a non-starter. I'm just an insignificant nobody, but there must be many high-flying entrepreneurs, businesses execs, researchers, and computer programers who would also see that as being critical to their decision. Should Japan just accept that these people will go elsewhere? It's obviously a complicated issue.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

@kawabegawa198: I pay the same taxes, social security, land taxes, local taxes, income taxes, GST and tolls that you do, shouldn't I get some say?

You can have a say! Become a Japanese citizen!

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

Alvie Noakes

Japan attracted almost no elites...

Well many skilled people do come, but internationally no, Japan is not the leader, and the reason isn’t immigration. It’s wages and companies who aren’t attractive.

Why would a young smart guy come work here really?

14 ( +14 / -0 )

i pay more taxes than average Japanese citizen in my age group, own property and land, speak reasonable Japanese and been here over 15 years, yet my application for Kika( nationalisation) has been in review over 1.5 years and last interview mentioned something about not enough kanji even though it was all conducted in Japanese... so it aint that easy to become citizen... I think certain tax / citizen bracket of permanent residents ( yes, over the median income/ tax bracket and over 10+ years in Japan ) should be allowed to vote ,in some of the elections.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

 I pay the same taxes, social security, land taxes, local taxes, income taxes, GST and tolls that you do, shouldn't I get some say?

Yes.

Become a Japanese citizen! Just don't chuutohanpa it. Either you're fully comitted or not.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Japan sadly continues to get so much more wrong than right, it is burning itself from inside & outside, 360degrees in all 3 dimensions.

It wont be long before Japan will start having trouble getting people from poor 3rd world countries to come over to be a slave for a few years

It is scary to think what Japan will become 10,20,30yrs from now, hell Japan is NOT even like it was 20yrs ago & the pace of change(not for the better) will be picking up speed over time in all likelihood.....

8 ( +11 / -3 )

@kawabegawa198 @Red suns: I don't want to give up my cultural identify yet choose to live in in this great country of Japan. The right to vote should not mean turning your back on your past culture, family and history. Just as you value your Japanese-ness (assuming you are Japanese here), I value mine.

If other countries like Australia allows permanent residents to vote why can't Japan?

If you pay into social security, taxes, don't have a criminal record and have been here X years doesn't make you any less of a citizen.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

They only care around tax season or reports of terrorism (domestic or not); they don't care for voting or solving the current aging population problem, or with human rights. The only party that gives one wit is the Komeito, who has pushed for suffrage in local elections with CHinese and Korean permanent residents (second gen).

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I cannot see much hope for a country which does not even accept third generation of Koreans as Japanese, let alone anybody else.

When I am in Japan, many Japanese people value my opinion, but that is as far as it goes.

It is sad to see so many foriegn people in Japan trying to °fit in" but they will never really get anywhere.

Japan is just not compatable to the world of the 21st century.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I may be wrong but I think that foreigners don’t matter in this society

14 ( +14 / -0 )

To all the dumb people calling for naturalization "if you want to vote", understand that the minister of justice have their own internal supra legal rules that make the process extremely hard, specially if you are single. 

I've been living in Japan for 10 years, and I've been trying to naturalize for more than 3 years now, but still I've not been able to. 

Things like "changing jobs" because of a better Job offer is frowned upon by the minister of justice. Also the fact that I came as an student is also frowned upon, because, and I quote what they told me at the minister of justice, "Students are expected to return to their own country". 

In fact, I can apply for a point visa for Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, places I've never even been to, but I still cannot even get permanent residency in Japan, a place where I spend a 3rd of my life.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

@Akshay

I may be wrong but I think that foreigners don’t matter in this society.

Rather an immaterial opinion....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@personiamnow

Why would a young smart guy come work here really?

Simple, young dumb, pretty women! ;)

The point is I agree that many elites in different industries don't set up shop in Japan because in many ways the culture is not very welcoming to foreigners; in addition, Japan seems to lag behind in many ways compared to other first world countries with very little signs of changing for the better. However, I have met many highly intelligent people who are here for various reasons. Unfortunately, they are not really allowed to shine because of some those culture issues that like to stifle any type of progress. Heaven forbids if it is a foreigner leading the charge for progress.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It's none of our business, we are guests. Japan has a closed one party system, so we should just be quiet and pay our tax, and sales tax and city tax.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

lol I just cant help but smile at the shadenfreude after months of most fawning over the kaigi card carrying alumni that is koike!! This is Japan. If youre not ethnic Japanese, youre pretty much sub-human. Rither accept it or go somewhere else. That right there is the hard biting fact of living in Japan.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I've been living in Japan for 10 years, and I've been trying to naturalize for more than 3 years now, but still I've not been able to. 

Marry a Japanese national. Your chance at naturalization can only increase.

Their home. Their rules.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

I'm married to a Japanese citizen have three children two grandsons but unfortunately am having trouble getting citizenship, because my genetic history does not include Chinese genes that are the norm in Japan. What do I have to do to be accepted, facial surgery, a full body tan because paying a plethora of taxes has not worked. WTF why am I asked when I'm going home, constantly, after 20 years of living here? Grow up Japan I'm sick of living on tender hooks every 3 to 5 years to get a new visa. FM

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Goodlucktoyou: "so we should just be quiet and pay our tax, and sales tax and city tax."

Yes, because things always change when you shut up and hide in the shadows. Sorry, my friend, but if you want to avert your gaze and keep quiet then all the power to you; some of us like to express our opinions on things, especially as tax payers, and whether or not those opinions will be listened to, we can expect them to be heard. I mean, this is a nation that is bragging about international events, boosted tourism, being friendly and inclusive, etc. It is welcoming only in so much as you plan to leave at some point (or are willing to be ignored if not). There is no problem with saying something and hoping that will change. But there is good reason they don't listen to foreign opinion and don't want foreigners voting -- even those who have lived here all their lives -- because the people in power would be booted from power, and someone who is ACTUALLY striving for change (not just in terms of internationalization) and looking out for the interests of the nation and not just Japan Inc. and one self, would be voted in. Can't have that.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Cricky that’s the reality of living in nationalist countries.

Im Japanese, and born here but being Caucasian and Hawaiian mixed, I know well that I will never be accepted. I am often special or given good treatment, which makes it ok, but I know it will always be this way.

Silvafan

Why would a smart young guy want a dumb woman?

Also I don’t think needs to “advance” in the way you think it should. Just because western countries do something doesn’t make it advanced or right for another nation.

Look at what poor integration and the racism it creates has done in some European and American areas. No thank you, Japan has it better.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@Cricky - Sorry about your situation. I am curious. Why do you not have Permanent Residence (easy to get nowadays)? That would at least take care of the Visa concern. (I am not married to a Japanese national yet have it). You certainly meet ALL criteria and being married to a Japanese more so than me.

About the citizenship: There are several people I know who have it. I have not tried as I would rather not give up my citizenship and just keep the PR.

I am in a technology related industry and know alot of folks who are pretty talented who have set up in Japan (for various reasons).

On the other hand Japan has a very long way to go and Koike actually asking people in her party to sign a document saying they would never support foreigners voting in a local election really turned me off to her.

Removing emotions from all of this, the mathematical fact is that for Japan to survive, Japan needs foreigners to support the aging population and a constant influx of convenience store workers or English teachers will not generate enough tax revenue to solve this problem.

None of the political parties in Japan are addressing this issue in a realistic manner

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@thepersoniamnow

Instead of assuming that you know more than rest of us because you like to always use your bicultural heritage as credibility for being correct, you should spend more time actually listening because quite often you are off the mark.

Why would a smart young guy want a dumb woman? 

Are dumb women bad? If so, why? Depending on the relationship, there are plenty of reasons why a smart guy would have some kind of relationship with a dumb woman. I noticed that you had no problem with young and pretty!

Also I don’t think needs to “advance” in the way you think it should.

How would you know the way that I particularly think it should be? I never specifically mentioned it. You ever heard that old expression about "When people ASSume.....

Critical thinking skills people!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Become a Japanese citizen then! Stop wanting to have your cake **and eat it.**

well many countries allow permanent residence to vote even if theyre not a citizen. Im a permanent resident, have Japanese children , employ Japanese staff and pay substantially more in taxes, health care, city taxes than your average J citizen, I contribute more for Japans future well being than the majority of the J population so why shouldn't i be allowed to vote. If anything I should be getting a tax discount since Im unable to choose who should be making laws that effect the future of my family. I do believe that politicians should only be a citizen of the country they represent, as in Japan. So if a permanent resident could only vote for politicians that only have Japans interests at heart how is that a threat to J society!?

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Marry a Japanese national. Your chance at naturalization can only increase.

Their home. Their rules.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but that's not how love works.

And even if I wanted to marry, I can't, because I'm gay. I could marry just for convenience, I could trick some Japanese woman so that I would be able to naturalize, and then immediately divorce after I get my nationality, but I'm not selfish enough to destroy other people life's just for my own benefit, even if the current state of those "Rules" encourage that kind of behavior.

Also, the rules are stupid. I've seen a lot a "expats" having a Japanese spouse, who despise Japan with fervor, but they get all the extra benefits, while I, who actually like Japan, and I've been keeping up with all this, get nothing.

It's almost like the immigration policy doesn't really want people who like this country.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

how is that a threat to J society!

Youre not Japanese. Plain and simple.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@wtfjapan - you and I are nearly in the exact same situation (minus the Japanese kids for me).

It is an interesting debate, especially for those of us with significant investment in the country. On one hand I do have some understanding of the citizenship/vote idea however on the other hand as a person also paying alot of taxes and employing quite a few high paid Japanese citizens I have issues with lack of a voice of how things go.

I guess people could tell me "if you do not like it leave" but that would put my employees and clients in a hard spot and I really do not want to leave. I have had clients who just want to suck as much knowledge out of me as possible and I have others that are sincerely loyal to the business.

What Koike did really turned me off (making members of her party sign the declaration to never allow non citizens a vote - even in local elections).

For us making a choice to live, stay, and invest in Japan there are some hard realities to face. I often wonder what the threshold that would have to be crossed before I would pack up and leave.

I guess we all have our own issues to deal with.

In the end the attitude of nearly all Japanese politicians towards foreigners is detrimental to the future of the country.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Youre not Japanese. Plain and simple.

You do understand that what we understand as nationality is something arbitrary, right?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

You do understand that what we understand as nationality is something arbitrary, right?

Hey, dont shoot the messenger. This is Japans way. And like Ive been told countless times, if it doest jive with you, youre more than welcome to go elsewhere.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Luis - in your previous post you indicated you are trying to naturalize but also indicate you cannot get Permanent Residency after 10 years. It sounds like you should be able to get the eijyuken visa at least.....but I get what you are saying about citizenship.

I think (based on my own observations only) it is really hard for single people to get citizenship here. The people I know who have it are all married and I know and have talked to a few that are "public figures" who were able to gain citizenship with minimal language skills.

If you qualify under the point system in those other countries, you like Japan, and still cannot even get PR I am very sorry to hear that. Not only for you but for Japan as it sounds like you would be the type of person Japan would really want residing here.

I hope things work out for you

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hey, dont shoot the messenger. This is Japans way. And like Ive been told countless times, if it doest jive with you, youre more than welcome to go elsewhere.

I'm sorry, but that's not how the world works.

Most people in Japan actually don't even know how even the most basic things of the immigration system works in their own country. People are actually shocked when I tell them all the problems and all the things I've been having to deal with.

One of the most common, and that I constantly see that get people even angry, is the fact that I studied in Japan, and that I actually like Japan, and still I get an extremely bad deal at the immigration offices.

The common theme I've seen is that Japanese people want immigrants who like their country, but the immigration policy does not reflect that.

The policy of a country does not reflect the values or what people actually want from their country, but it just reflect what the government and bureaucrats want, or archaic rules that have not changed at all since the Meiji era.

I actually like this country, and that's why I care about the state of things.

If you think that you should just obey and never even question whatever rule the government puts in place, then maybe somewhere like China is the place for you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

you should be able to get the eijyuken visa at least.....but I get what you are saying about citizenship.

I can't, because living for 10 years isn't the only requirement.

It's also a requirement to get a visa of at least 3 years, but I've been getting just 1 year visas for the last 4 years, and of course, they never even tell you why.

I have a above average salary, I pay all my taxes, I don't even have transit tickets, but here I am, having to renew my visa every single year.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Luis - again sorry to hear this. Certainly sounds like Japan's loss to me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithinjapanToday  11:05 am JST

The only party that gives one wit is the Komeito, who has pushed for suffrage in local elections with CHinese and Korean permanent residents (second gen).

Some LDP assembly members were also in favour of it, but only for the sake of appearances. When the DPJ came to power and it looked like they might actually allow it, they quickly changed their tune and came out against it.

Akira Fukumura, secretary-general of the LDP Ishikawa prefectural chapter and a prefectural assembly member, said the assembly’s about-face in its stance on foreign suffrage reflects the “new circumstances brought about by the change in government.”

*“In the past, we showed support because the legislation was unlikely to happen” under the LDP rule, Fukumura said. “We figured that it was just good policy to preserve the honor of those who wanted to show support.”*

https://tokyogeneralunion.org/assemblies-say-no-to-foreign-suffrage/

In other words they didn't even see any need to come up with a half-decent excuse for such a brazen u-turn. It pretty much encapsulates for me what the LDP is all about, really.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm sorry, but that's not how the world works.

Like I said, this is Japan. There is no way the mindset is ever going to change. Thats it. Theres no left or right about it. Plus I dont need a lesson in how the world works. Every country has a different set of rules. Some you might not agree with. Thats fine. But they still have to be followed. Nonetheless.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Like I said, this is Japan. There is no way the mindset is ever going to change. Thats it. Theres no left or right about it. Plus I dont need a lesson in how the world works. Every country has a different set of rules. Some you might not agree with. Thats fine. But they still have to be followed. Nonetheless.

The "mindset" is not the problem, as I already said, policy doesn't even agree with the mindset of most of the people of this country. The problem is policy.

Policy needs to change, and it will eventually change, but not thanks to conformists like yourself who give up without even trying anything, and telling everyone else to do the same.

As far as I know, I'm not breaking any rules by saying my opinion, in fact it is also part of the rules of Japan, since there is a little something about freedom of speech, remember?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Based on the political “perspective” I see here most of the time I think it’s best that foreign perspectives are not considered.

Voting and influence is for citizens, not just people who live somewhere but don’t like that they don’t get the rights of citizens.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Pay taxes produce multiple new tax payers but have no say on governance, that's not fair? Pretty simple. Except if you accept the convoluted way Japan works.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am all for PR holders to vote in local elections, national should only be for Citizens.

I got PR 15yrs ago, came here on a 1yr spouse visa, in my 3rd renewal immigration told me that I can apply for the 3yr visa which went smooth. Granted I worked in a large International IT company at that time, which also pushed immigration.

Never considered becoming a citizen as I plan to retire back home, own property there.

Anyway tomorrow is going to be interesting.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Foreigners who have PR and live in Kawasaki can vote in local elections. There is also a foreigner council that meets about 8 times a year where they discuss various issues.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Anyway tomorrow is going to be interesting.

No, no. Its really not going to be.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

a foreigner council where they discuss various issues.

Sounds like every gaijin bar in Japan, but without the release provided by alcohol.

Nightmare....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

without dual citizenship I don't see how it matters as this isn't a local PR available vote. It's never going to be on Japanese terms, only second class. Therefore it makes sense that it's not an issue.

Japan starts imploding financially at some point they'll have an exit at least, or their kids

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Silvafan I guarantee you that a mixed blood Japanese who lived both abroad and also here does have insight that someone who came here to live does not have. I take what my black friends in the States have to say about being a minority as I do my Korean friends here as something to listen to as they have experienced things differently to me.

Me being off the mark is simply your opinion, which actually everyone has.

I didn’t say dumb woman are bad. I questioned your statement that young smart men come here for dumb pretty Japanese women. I don’t think it’s right for you to generalize Japanese women as dumb, but you are the critical thinking expert right?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

this article is just trying to stir the pot. foreigners make up less than 5% of the population and permanent residents less than 1%. on top of that foreigners can not vote and this is not their country. complete garbage this article...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Foreigners who have PR and live in Kawasaki can vote in local elections. There is also a foreigner council that meets about 8 times a year where they discuss various issues.

i was a member of the council they accomplished nothing 2. no we can not vote where did you read that?
3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am a foreigner myself but I do not believe that foreigners should have the right to vote unless they naturalize.

The only exceptions I can think of in Japan's case are the ethnic Koreans who are considered special permanent residents.

It's nice to have a government that listens to our concerns but it's walking a dangerous line opening up election participation to foreign nationals.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@kawabegawa198

Cue lots of foreigners bleating about not being allowed to vote because they are not Japanese citizens. Become a Japanese citizen then! Stop wanting to have your cake and eat it.

In many modern democracies permanent residents are given the vote. We are, after all, humans first and citizens second. Heaven forbid we start caring about other people in the society in which we live, right?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

this article is just trying to stir the pot. foreigners make up less than 5% of the population and permanent residents less than 1%. on top of that foreigners can not vote and this is not their country. complete garbage this article...

Whilst I became eligible for PR many years ago I never did it because there is simply no benefit from becoming one. If they gave PRs the vote that number of 1% might go up...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There's something about taxation without representation, but I can't remember...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To me permanent resident isn’t enough. You can just give that back and return “home” anytime you want if something you don’t like happens, there is a disaster, etc

if you want to vote, give up the other passport and give up your escape plan. Then you can have a voice about how Japan is run.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Luis David Yanez

My American wife got 1 year installments for 4 years then she got a 5 year visa recently. After that its residency for her.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As a PR Holder I got the same rights and privileges as a japanese citizen except for voting.

My PR don't expire and don't need renewal, just makes life a bit more comfy as no reentry visa is required.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I have found having PR helps in banking/loans and in employment. a company is more likely to hire you if they don’t have to deal with your visa. Also easier to change jobs when you need to because they can’t mess with your visa or housing.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@personiamnow

Me being off the mark is your opinion*

I could re-post previous conversations from other stories, but that would be off-topic!

Silvafan I guarantee you that a mixed blood Japanese who lived both abroad and also here does have insight that someone who came here to live does not have.

Thinking critically lets us know that having bicultural not "mixed-blood" insight doesn't mean that you are automatically correct, or that you automatically understand the place that you live. I am pretty sure there are cultural anthropologists and sociologist who have been in this country longer than you have been alive that disagree with you. They have more insight to this idea of nationalism. Oh, they are also not Japanese! This means that mixed-blood insight can only go so far.

I didn’t say dumb woman are bad. I questioned your statement that young smart men come here for dumb pretty Japanese women. I don’t think it’s right for you to generalize Japanese women as dumb, but you are the critical thinking expert right?

Yet, you generalized that elite or smart guys don't come to Japan, or there is no reason for them to come. See the hypocrisy, yet? By they way, I never said Japanese women! See the assumptions, yet?

Critical thinking people!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@pacint

As a PR Holder I got the same rights and privileges as a japanese citizen except for voting.

My PR don't expire and don't need renewal, just makes life a bit more comfy as no reentry visa is required.

You do realize that you still have to renew your immigration card with a new photo at some time in the future. In addition, if you go abroad for longer than a year then you do need a re-entry visa!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There's something about taxation without representation, but I can't remember..

when you are a not a citizen you can be taxed without being represented. btw this is an American saying which started the independence movement from britain. nothing to do with japan and foreigners living here. does everyone who pays taxes get a vote in your country? i hope not

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

OK, i just get the letter every couple of years to apply for the council. If it is just public relations, too bad.

Giving up 8 Sundays a year seemed a bit much, plus the two year commitment.

Better than other cities. I never got PR but I read somewhere that it was posssible.

As I may move out of Kawasaki, it doesn't matter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Youre not Japanese. Plain and simple. i contribute as much, probably more than the average Japanese to J society, so how is this even fair , its discriminatory and undemocratic. last I checked Japan was a democracy and part of the UN and should abide by the ideals of the UN.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

We had My Number forced onto us and have to pay taxes like everybody else, yet we cannot vote in local elections. The government picks and chooses what it likes, but not necessarily what is right.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

BlacklabelToday  02:23 pm JST

Based on the political “perspective” I see here most of the time I think it’s best that foreign perspectives are not considered.

Voting and influence is for citizens, not just people who live somewhere but don’t like that they don’t get the rights of citizens.

Or to put it another way, foreigners shouldn't be allowed to vote because the Constitution says so, and the Constitution says so because foreigners shouldn't be allowed to vote.

Or is there actually a substantial argument for why foreigners shouldn't be allowed to vote, i.e. some way in which it might be detrimental to the national welfare?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Whilst I became eligible for PR many years ago I never did it because there is simply no benefit from becoming one.

Try to get a mortgage. PR will help you there. Only reason I got PR, because I had no issues otherwise with visas.

I don't want to naturalize because I like my current passport, and I feel the clowns that pass for politicians here aren't worth voting for anyway. Just me.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I’m open to allowing voting to foreigners who are permanent residents for a certain amount of time, spend most of the year here and preferably own property and assets here, and have a high income as they are good members of society and their votes would be valuable.

Allowing voting to unskilled foreigners such as cleaners or English teachers, etc.? No lol, not in 1 million years

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

gogogoToday  09:26 am JST

Nope, that's the only difference between a permanent resident and a citizen. If you want the right to vote, become a citizen. Standard procedure in every modern democratic countries.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

dcog9065Today  06:08 pm JST

Allowing voting to unskilled foreigners such as cleaners or English teachers, etc.? No lol, not in 1 million years

So if it's more down to the quality of the individuals, their income and what you feel they can contribute to society, then surely there are also Japanese nationals who shouldn't get the vote in a million years either?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Dango bongToday  04:43 pm JST

does everyone who pays taxes get a vote in your country? i hope not

Why not, specifically? How is it any worse for a country, in practical terms, than limiting the franchise to citizens?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

But there is good reason they don't listen to foreign opinion and don't want foreigners voting -- even those who have lived here all their lives -- because the people in power would be booted from power, and someone who is ACTUALLY striving for change (not just in terms of internationalization) and looking out for the interests of the nation and not just Japan Inc. and one self, would be voted in. Can't have that.

bingo that’s it in a nut shell

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I’m open to allowing voting to foreigners who are permanent residents thats exactly what im saying, I certainly dont think temporary workers/ residents should be allowed to vote only permanent residents who have invested a lot of time, taxes and future tax payers in Japan and are here for the long term. We are here abiding by J laws paying our taxes, contributing to society just as any J citizen does. If forcing people to become J citizen and forfeiting their native nationalities for the sake of the right to vote in Japan, no thanks Id prefer not to vote at all.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Hey, there's still the old saying that if voting actually changed anything, they'd make it illegal.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So if it's more down to the quality of the individuals, their income and what you feel they can contribute to society, then surely there are also Japanese nationals who shouldn't get the vote in a million years either?

I do agree that some nationals shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but that’s a whole different topic, one only needs to look at America to see what happens when everyone gets a vote.

The topic here is whether we should allow non-citizen or naturalized foreigners in Japan the vote, and the answer is unequivocally no. That will never, ever happen

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I can live with PRs not being given the right to vote in national elections - I have absolutely no intention of applying for Japanese citizenship. Why bother? I don't want it if I'll always be regarded as a foreigner in society. Plus, there is no way I am going to renounce my current citizenship.

Plus, I think it should be up to the Japanese people to scr*w up their own nation with their apathy or fondness of useless brand-name politicians - you get what you deserve.

Sure, vote for Abe (or even Koike). Get the SDF to fight abroad. But don't complain when people are not getting paid enough, parents can't find childcare facilities, the elderly struggle without help. And don't complain when US troops leave when they think Japan is capable of defending itself with SDF.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Folks. It's quite simple. Japan will welcome Foreigners in, so long as they have something to offer them, but beyond that forget it. And for a Foreigner wishing to partake in a vote that impacts Native Japanese Citizens... that would be unheard of, unspeakable, it would be the beginning of the end for Japan. So, this is why, Foreigners, will never have the vote.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

dcog9065Today  09:31 pm JST

The topic here is whether we should allow non-citizen or naturalized foreigners in Japan the vote, and the answer is unequivocally no. That will never, ever happen

Why not? You might well be right, it might never happen, but can you actually explain why it should never happen?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My American wife got 1 year installments for 4 years then she got a 5 year visa recently. After that its residency for her.

The difference is that I've been living in Japan for 10 years.

First a 1 year visa, then 2 times a 6 month visa, then 2 times a 2 year visa, and all the following years 1 year visa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't agree with this. Although we have some rights as a foreigner.

We should remember that we weren't born in the country.

It is the right of those who were naturally born in the country.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Luis.

Did you change jobs during those 10yrs?

Candida.

Place of birth is irrelevant, you get citizenship granted either from one of the parents or naturalization. How about Japanese born overseas?

Know many chinese, etc that now are Japanese citizens.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Did you change jobs during those 10yrs?

As any normal person who gets a better job offer, I did, and as I said, I know that is not well seen by the Ministry of Justice, which is ridiculous.

The Ministry of Justice apparently wants more slaves to a shitty job than people who move up in their careers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As a PR Holder I got the same rights and privileges as a japanese citizen except for voting.

Not quite.

If you are a PR you still have to have with you your Resident Card at all times, and the police can just randomly stop you and ask for it.

Also, you can lose your PR and be deported if you are found guilty of a crime, whatever this may be.

Not to mention that things like social security may not apply to you depending on the place you live in, since the Supreme Court has already said that the constitution doesn't really apply to non citizens.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

DickTaterTotsOct. 21  03:52 pm JST

It's nice to have a government that listens to our concerns but it's walking a dangerous line opening up election participation to foreign nationals.

A dangerous line? Can you explain what's dangerous about it?

Wallace FredOct. 21  02:06 pm JST

Every country has a different set of rules. Some you might not agree with. Thats fine. But they still have to be followed. Nonetheless.

Rules and laws can and should change to suit the needs of the times, hence the existence of national legislatures and the current debates about revising the Constitution.

candidaToday  06:50 am JST

I don't agree with this. Although we have some rights as a foreigner.

We should remember that we weren't born in the country.

It is the right of those who were naturally born in the country.

No, as many have pointed out anyone who becomes a Japanese citizen also has the right to vote no matter where they're from originally.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why bother? Voting is a sham anyway.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan’s hidebound and lip service attitudes towards long-term foreigner’s rights need to be reciprocated by foreign governments serving notice to the Japanese Government that henceforth Japanese expatriates ability to enjoy the courtesies extended to them in other lands will be contingent upon long-term foreign residents of Japan enjoying quid pro quo equal rights. Nothing more, nothing less

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Really? In which countries can Japanese citizens vote?

Not being sarcastic, I'm just not aware of them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Even if non-Japanese were given the right to vote they wouldn't make any difference to the results: the son of the last guy would still win every time. Plus, you can be sure that non-Japanese would be blamed for voting in all the crooked politicians and anything else that goes wrong.

I quite like things as they are: the shower of crooks, deadbeats and right-wing nutters in the Diet are entirely the responsibility of the Japanese people and nothing whatsoever to do with me. In return for not giving me a vote my overseas income and assets are kept out of Japan and they won't be seeing a single Yen of it in tax.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“Really?”

South Korea

Foreign residents can cast votes in local elections if they acquire F-5 visa status for three years and have registered with their relevant local governments. South Korea is the first nation in Asia to grant voting privileges to foreign residents.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Silvafan you dont see the difference in between you stating that foreign guys come here for “dumb Japanese women and me stating that a young bright talent wouldnt come to the Japan company system??

Having lived through both systems as a child and adult yes (nice of you trying to call up academics as references) when I hear most people who come to live in Japan and complain about how its not like at home, I think theres a lot more to it than that. Anyways no need to nit pick, you have ur own opinions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Silvafan

Thanks for reading through my posts though in order to come at me more intelligently. I think you may be the only guy on earth whos taken the time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I lived in Japan for years, but I think that if Japan wants to have an all-Japanese society, that's their prerogative. Let the rest of the industrialized world demonstrate the experiment of multiculturalism. I live in the US and the multicultural thing just works here, it's good for us. We're a young country full of all sorts of people. But people need to stop trying to change Japan,and people who aren't Japanese need to stop trying to be Japanese. If you aren't Japanese, sorry, but you never will be. It's their country. If you don't like it, the Narita Express runs twice an hour last I checked.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

We had My Number forced onto us and have to pay taxes like everybody else, yet we cannot vote in local elections. The government picks and chooses what it likes, but not necessarily what is right.

Because foreigners have experience outside of this bubble, so our thinking won't match what the locals have been brought up on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have always wondered why someone who doesn't look like a Japanese eg Chinese, Koreans or

maybe Mongolian would want to naturalize in a country that they won't ever be considered a citizen

of, no matter how much they love Japan, they would always be asked where they are from and when

they will be returning to their home country. They will still face obstacles renting private apartments

especially if they bear foreign sounding names.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@drlucifer

None of the Mongolians I’ve met (somewhere between five and ten) could pass as native Japanese.

Koreans and Chinese, yes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

my overseas income and assets are kept out of Japan and they won't be seeing a single Yen of it in tax.

That is illegal tax evasion, if you have been in Japan longer than 5 years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Foreigners' perspective on election 

The first thing we have to do is stop using "foreigners" for these people in English. Despite the Japanese use of the word 外国人, the standard word in the English language is "immigrants" and the headline should read "Immigrants' perspective...".

In English, the word "foreigner" implies a person who does not reside in, and perhaps has never set foor in, the speaker's country. It is normal for societies to not care about the perspectives or opinions of "foreigners" when formulating domestic policy, but it is not so normal for societies to ignore the opinions of legal immigrants.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

CaptDingleheimerOct. 23  11:54 am JST

But people need to stop trying to change Japan...

Who here said they were trying to change Japan? I think we're all entitled to opinions though, aren't we?

...and people who aren't Japanese need to stop trying to be Japanese.

What, they shouldn't apply for Japanese citizenship, learn the language and try to assimilate if they want?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What I learnt living there and still going there:

no democracy

no critical thinking

culture by heritage only

Many ideas to push for change about nationality and vote in comments are contrary by definition to what think Japanese and how you are brain printed from birth.

Only half Japanese can have their cake and eat it. Ever. I foresee this situation since loss of WWII did not bring any change.

I personally don't mind, world is enough for me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Every country should have the right to determine who it wants as residents and citizens, and live with the consequences.

The vast majority of Japanese do not want their lives and cultures to change, in many cases reflecting racism, in many cases fear of the unknown or of losing their unique cultural identity which they cling onto as a means of preserving their illusions of superiority.

Maybe there is a little jealousy from among some of those commenting here. Japan manages to maintain a safe and orderly society, while at the same time uncontrolled immigration is causing problems for many Western nations. Once Japan opens that door there is no going back.

Of course, as I said, they will have to live with the consequences of their anti-foreignor bias and aging population. For many Japanese that is better than losing their social cohesion but only time will tell whether practicality will win out.

Their society, their rules. No-one forcing anyone to go there.

Certainly I would encourage those thinking of living in Japan long term to go somewhere else, as they will never really be accepted. Even leaving aside issues such as equality of voting rights, foreignors will always be viewed as second class.

Their country, their rules.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan has nothing anybody really wants. The country will continue to decline. The only question is if the Japanese government can and will keep the Chinese out.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“Their country, their rules.”

You can hardly begrudge them not wanting to embrace the kind of openness and diversity that is emboldening nativism the world over. At the same time, they need to be made aware that there are consequent opportunity costs. It is in other countries interests to hold a mirror to Japan, impressing upon its ruling elites that the fairness and equality which Japanese nationals in other countries enjoy is contingent upon other countries nationals enjoying the same here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jonathan PrinOct. 24  11:50 am JST

Only half Japanese can have their cake and eat it.

Until they're made to choose one nationality or the other, that is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Until they're made to choose one nationality or the other, that is.

If you do not reply to the question the government puts to you, they assume that you have elected Japanese citizenship. So not only can you retain dual nationality, you do not need to lie.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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