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Ex-adviser to Abe praises apartheid as means of immigration control

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By Elaine Lies and Takashi Umekawa

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In a column entitled “Let Them In - But Keep a Distance”, Sono said Japan should open its doors to more foreign workers, especially to care for the growing numbers of elderly, but should make them live separately from Japanese.

With all respect, IMO, this opinion is not that far off the thinking of a significant number of older Japanese. I mean a foreigner still has difficulty trying to rent apartments without a Japanese sponsor, or in some cases cannot do so at all, because the residents don't want them in their building.

“There’s a trend for people close to Abe and his way of thinking to emphasize the concept of ‘Japaneseness’ too much,

No, you think?

38 ( +45 / -7 )

Oh, dear. Friday the 13th. And I feel I'm in a horror story.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

"Let them in but keep a distance" is what Japanese do to foreigners now. A certain number of us are let in but always kept far outside no matter how hard we try for acceptance. Her policy would only make the distancing less subtle and less deniable.

37 ( +39 / -2 )

Let's see the Foreign Ministry spin this for foreign consumption.

24 ( +26 / -2 )

There is no need for any Canadians in Japan, that's for sure!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Author Ayako Sono wrote in the conservative Sankei newspaper that South Africa’s former policies of racial separation had been good for whites, Asians and Africans." Scholarly article no doubt published by a scholarly publishing company, with connections to the scholarly leadership. and that's all she wrote.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

In Kobe, Rokko Island was built to house the gaijin, and keep them off the mainland. The brochures in the past advertising the place said something like, "Come and see the gaijin live and work!!

One of the Tokyo metro officials recently proposed the same: an artificial island in the bay for foreign residents.

It harks back to Dejima, during the 1600 or 1700s. So this isn't a new idea.

28 ( +30 / -2 )

Is this part of Japan's global PR message?

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Just section off a piece of land in the forest, call it a reserve and let them gamble and hunt all they want.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

The article made it to Reuters. Let the world know the reality.

26 ( +28 / -2 )

I mean a foreigner still has difficulty trying to rent apartments without a Japanese sponsor, or in some cases cannot do so at all, because the residents don't want them in their building.

In my experience, that's not correct. Most of them don't want foreigners for two reasons:

1) They worry we are not going to treat the apartments well.

2) They worry about communication problems if any issues come up

I've been told on multiple occasions that they would rent to me, because I speak Japanese. Unfortunately, I've been looking at the apartments for my staff, so they said no. So it wasn't a matter of not wanting foreigners living in the apartments, but rather that they didn't want someone who they couldn't communicate with in the event of a problem. Remember, Japanese are risk-adverse.

-16 ( +15 / -31 )

This thinking has already been put into practice. Not that long ago, people with permanent residence visas, who have basically immigrated to Japan (and not taken up citizenship because Japan does not have a dual system) were allowed to pass through immigration control at the airport with Japanese people. Now we are treated as potential criminals or terrorists and every time must go through the alien section and be finger printed and photographed.

17 ( +23 / -6 )

I worked for an American company more than 30 years and at my retirement about ten years ago, I decided I shall not associate with foreigners the rest of my life and live only among Japanese people. The reason is I found in my life at an American company that Japanese people are happy people who can live without being concious about their nationalities so long as they live in Japan among Japanese people only. This is a rare case in the world and we know that it is not easy to share our ideas and feelings with foreigners in the true sense.

-44 ( +8 / -52 )

Actually, I kinda like this idea of apartheid. However, in my version, I would round up all the racists like Sono and Abe, cutting them out of society like the cancerous growth they are, forcing them to live together, banished in a Bantustan for bigots.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sono's remark has contributed to an unfounded fear of foreign cultures by its strong anti-immigrant rhetoric and scare tactics, so have other political parties, because they failed to address the excessively negative framing of the immigration debate. Other politicians should have stated that immigration really isn't that big a problem. This might be difficult when the problems are of great interest to the Japanese media, but I think things could've been different if they could clearly state a different view. The alleged failures of multiculturalism and integration have become a popular fact in Japan, although that if integration means getting an education, learning Japanese and finding a job.

Xenophobia in Japan is reflected in public policies, which usually serve the people who “were there first,” while the presence of “the others” is framed as a problem. The Japanese media, the public, and politicians use cultural practices to mark the difference between these two groups, those who belong and those who do not. The new form of racism is that it has become accepted to use culture as a problem. Japanese people argue that this isn't racism because the alleged problem is in the culture and not the race, but it's not that different, really.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Japan just can't stop digging its own grave.

35 ( +40 / -6 )

In my experience, that's not correct. Most of them don't want foreigners for two reasons: 1) They worry we are not going to treat the apartments well. 2) They worry about communication problems if any issues come up

Not this old rocking horse again!!!!!!!

90% of the non-Japanese I know in Japan have a Japanese spouse who do speak the language.

Yet

Most of them have, sometime or another, faced trouble renting an apartment through the present fudosan system. I really question your Japanese language comprehension abilities because ethnicity of the tenant is nearly always the 2nd topic that comes up in the telephone exchange between the fudosan and the property owner (the first being, is the apartment still vacant?).

Can you imagine the public reaction in your own countries should a realtor have to ask the all important question, 'X is married to a Pakistani, Indian, African-American, is allowing them to rent the apartment still Okay?'

Newsflash... Japan already operates a segregationist system and most Japanese like it like that.

Sono's real crime, as far as most Japanese are concerned, is that she aired Japan's dirty laundry in public.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

Wow! I am just at a loss for words. Overall, I'm really happy here in Japan. My wife's family has been very welcoming and the people in my workplace generally respect and appreciate what I do. But there's always those ones who even though they are smiling, you can just feel them not wanting you there. And sometimes, I think there are more of those kinds of people than we are willing to admit. I say to myself to just go on with what I do and just not think about it. Many minorities have it much worse than me. But it still gets to me from time to time.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Political analysts said her comments could well damage Japan at a time when Tokyo is ramping up its efforts to burnish the country’s image overseas.

COULD? Let's see just who and where picks up on this. Sharing it among friends would be a great way to get the word out.

Sono's real crime, as far as most Japanese are concerned, is that she aired Japan's dirty laundry in public.

You know, there are probably quite a few people in Japan who don't think it's dirty laundry at all and probably support her views too. It's only a "crime" to the foreigners, and Abe will play it off somehow.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Most of them have, sometime or another, faced trouble renting an apartment through the present fudosan system.

I have as well. I didn't claim otherwise. What I was claiming was that the reason given wasn't always correct in my experience.

I really question your Japanese language comprehension abilities because ethnicity of the tenant is nearly always the 2nd topic that comes up in the telephone exchange between the fudosan and the property owner (the first being, is the apartment still vacant?).

You don't need to question my Japanese, I speak Japanese. Not pidgin Japanese, proper Japanese. I assure you I don't have comprehension problems.

Have you ever rented apartments on behalf of a company? They don't know the nationality of the tenant at the time.

Can you imagine the public reaction in your own countries should a realtor have to ask the all important question, 'X is married to a Pakistani, Indian, African-American, is allowing them to rent the apartment still Okay?'

I'm not justifying the practice, I think it's despicable that it's even allowed. But I'm pointing out that the reasons for it are not simply a blanket hatred of foreigners as was stated in the post I was quoting. Often, it's risk aversion, in not wanting to risk any communication problems that come up.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Let's see the Foreign Ministry spin this for foreign consumption.

Indeed. Let's see how those ambitious foriegn tourist target numbers respond to a Japan that believe apartheid was a good thing.

In fact, I'm certain the foreign press would enjoy knowing this is the type of advise Abe seems more than eager to receive on his way towards a decidedly more militant and unrepentant post-war Japan.

Especially since we've seen how well, say, foreign publishers of education materials have not responded to Japanese official requests to whitewash Japan's culpability during WWII.

I'd lay the blame on Abe, but the unavoidable and profounly sad truth is that the Japanese electorate has quite conspicuously resisted botting the clown out on his nationalistic heinie. Which suggest some degree of implicit consent.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

SchopenhauerFeb. 14, 2015 - 07:50AM JST

I worked for an American company more than 30 years and at my retirement about ten years ago, I decided I shall not associate with foreigners the rest of my life and live only among Japanese people. The reason is I found in my life at an American company that Japanese people are happy people who can live without being concious about their nationalities so long as they live in Japan among Japanese people only. This is a rare case in the world and we know that it is not easy to share our ideas and feelings with foreigners in the true sense.

I used to meet your type more than 30 years back in South Africa. Brit and US ex-pats who thought apartheid was the best thing on this earth and their own countries had been ruined by immigration and giving people of color equal rights. They used to be called Honorary Afrikaners.

Sadly I still occasionally meet your type on my yearly visits back home to South Africa, not so many, but they still exist.

Frighteningly I see more and more of you in Japan, where I live for the rest of the year, Honorary Nipponjin, nearly always white and European or American.

I'm alright Jack and sod the rest......the elixir of human progress.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

Apologies for the typos....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

japan is racist all the way around. this article only sheds the truth into the limelight. It will not change a thing until possibly the next two -three generations are long gone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A typical illustration of the type of people Abe likes to have around him as advisors.

Notice the way the issue is framed - the immigrants may be a necessary evil to support the Japanese lifestyle but are fundamentally not welcome as individual human beings in their own right.

I lived in Japan for many years, have studied the country and language formally, speak it fluently to a professional working standard and have a Japanese wife. But people like this still think we should be separated because we can never be "Japanese enough". I eventually gave up and returned to my home country as I watched these undercurrents that have existed for decades get much worse and more overt after Abe came to power. I'm glad I went home and I won't be coming back other than as a temporary visitor

18 ( +20 / -2 )

The woman should be in a retirement home, along with Aso. Yet again Japan has been made to look foolish

17 ( +21 / -4 )

And once again someone who is/was close to Abe sending their true messages to the world. "Welcome, but please stay away from me, tell us how great we are, and then go, please." And you have to love how Suga can't even bother to comment on what she said!

So now we have Nazi enthusiasts, mysogynists, people who want the elder to die (and are elderly themselves), and other racists and bigots in the ruling party. I guess this kind of speech from a politician in Japan is the criteria to become one.

22 ( +27 / -5 )

Anyone who has lived here long enough knows that it doesn't take much scratching of the surface to reveal some of the true sentiments of politicians or their aids. That Aso is still around is laughable. What this Sono has forgotten to mention, or maybe it was not reported, is that under apartheid, Japanese were given 'honorary white' status. So under her idea, when there is some group who is not the right color, but their money is, will they be given 'honorary Japanese' status (I did not say 'yellow' because I'm sure Sono would not like Japanese lumped in with Asians for example).

15 ( +16 / -1 )

When did she become an ex-advisor, before or after she made this remark? Is she still advising on education reform including, I assume, moral education?

Now, how much is Abe spending on improving Japan's image around the world and I wonder just how much is this kind of thing damaging it?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Ayako Sono can stick it where the sun dont shine. And all them older (kanreki), who grew up during the occupation, ought to be more understanding rather than empathize. The "Japaneseness" concept is a dangerous thing indeed.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Many foreigners comment about safety and peacefulness of Japan. Isn't that happening because we are homogenious society? There is no serious religious strife and racial tensions which many other countries are suffering. Living with foreigners produce extra stresses. No thank you!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I would grab at the chance to meet this "ex-adviser" to ask some more pressing questions. Growing up soon after the SA apartheid era, but still experienced resentment from the white Afrikaaners because I was not white enough well into my junior high school days. Actually being Mediterranean with a having a smashing golden tan made I stood out from their white expected image.

The was a reason why South Africa was so heavily sanctioned from sports and trade was due to their apartheid system, if Japan even tries implementing it(which I don't see happening), do them same. Banned from global sporting events and trade, especially trading where they seem to make a bulk of their GDP.

Although these "enlightened" comments always seems to come from some old crock of dinosaur with some kind of bitter resentment that the good old imperial days are gone. Working with people between early 20s to late 30s their attitudes are much more open even some elderly folk, I will not paint them all with the same racist brush. I find these comments from these so called elite graduates amusing, venting their inadequacies instead of progrssing with the world.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Do this old people forget how much hunger and pain they endure in this country? Japan was not a rich country, stop the arrogance, that this is a rich country with poor people.

japan was a 3rd world country, the USA made this country opening they market.

the only thing that will change japan will be to every other country to the same to they citizens in other country, stop buying they product, kick Japanese company out of other country, do the same that happen to south Africa in the days of the apartheid.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Waiting for the inevitable fake " I,m sorry that my comments have been misinterpreted and caused a " misunderstanding". followed by the obligatory bow before she is back to her cushy job. Business as usual. TIJ in progress.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Racist Japanese politicians as usual.

As a westerner, I have actually stopped buying Japanese products. My new car is a 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8L AWD. My new phone is an iPhone 6.

I'm very disappointed and angry at Japan's nationalistic nature.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Don't blame her so much. She's just repeating what most of Japan are thinking anyway. It's when one of those oops moments happen, that these politicians cannot hide their true feelings.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

considered part of Abe’s informal brain trust

This is what happens when your brain trust is a piggy bank.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

In Kobe, Rokko Island was built to house the gaijin, and keep them off the mainland. The brochures in the past advertising the place said something like, "Come and see the gaijin live and work!!

Proctor and Gamble came to Rokko Island, and other companies corporate housing moved out there (Eli Lily etc) . Canadian Academy moved too, as their facilities were quite old. Of course anyone in the foreign community working for a company that moved there would think of moving. Part of it was cost cutting. Eli Lily's housing for visiting execs was a pair of large houses in the Kitano-cho district. Yearly taxes alone would be in the area of $20,000 annually, rent 70-80man monthly. How much better for the company's bottom line to rent a condo instead.

There is still a thriving foreign community on the mainland, the Kobe Club and Ragatta Club are still going strong.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Shopenhauer. You ought to be more thankful for what u have & what japan is. All which can be attributed to some significant foreign involvement. A homogenious society is okay, but if most of them are racsist in this day / age -woe!! U better think again.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Author Ayako Sono, considered part of Abe's informal brain trust, set off a wave of online fury this week when she wrote in the conservative Sankei newspaper that South Africa's former policies of racial of separation had been good for whites, Asians and Africans

The biggest problem here is not what this woman said, but it is rather the fact that Abe had chosen her as an adviser to him, being fully aware of her background and her views on various social issues. As the saying goes, the birds of a feather.... I'm pretty sure Abe himself will keep mum about this.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Pretty funny interpretation of apartheid if you consider that back in the days of the republic, the Japanese in South Africa were only given the status of "honorary whites" for reasons of economic trade.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

would have to agree with the other "been around the track a few times" posters who say this should come as no surprise. My first reaction to this was 'sounds about right to me" as its coming straight out of "lets reexamine ourselves as japanese" movement thats been going on since the tsunami. This stuff is everywhere; just covered up with fluff about tourism Japan. Actually gaijin gehttos already exsist in Japan and have for a long time, starting with the annexing of the burakumin and further alienation of the Ainu. The gaijin were put up on a hill in Yamate and closed off in Nagasaki; this is basic Japanese character to rid themselves of the nonjapanese. Its just another reason why that immigration reform (we recently hear nothing about) wont work out so well in japan. just bring them gaijin here, put them to work, then what?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The Olympics...Yokoso Japan, enjoy our unique spirit of omotonashi and this food is the best you've ever tasted, isn't it? Do foreigner people eat Japanese food like korokke? One more thing - when are you going home?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese should not segregate those who will soon be paying for their pensions

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Borders, language, culture, are the keystones to keeping a Nation whole. How is 'multiculturalism' working out for the USA, UK, and Western Europe?! Not very good by the growing riots, bombings, shootings by those who fail to assimilate to their host Nation's culture. Islam is the worst of it all. I advise watching the newest movie coming out via Act for America where many prominent, popular Imam's and spoke person's of Islam speak of nothing but making the whole World Islamic. This is what may have prompted this subject of immigration control to come out now and especially after the recent beheading murders of the two Japanese by ISIS.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

If anyone needs their passport confiscating it's this reptile. I'd make her 'persona non grata' outside her own country. I'll take her advice and boycott JAL and ANA. The usual crap from the usual suspects, we want your business,but we don't want you. We'll give you foreign aid (if you buy our scooters, mopeds and cars), but don't ever think we value you as humans beings.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Any foreigner that has lived here a while is fully aware of the prejudices already instilled within the society, therefor, this fool's comments should come as no surprise. Trying to rent an apartment is a great example. When I got my my apartment there were around 30 apartments in the area and in my price range at the one real estate agent. However, when the time came to choose one, only two of them would allow foreigners. Apartheid? Bwahaha! It's already here!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Time for Japan to train some new opinion leaders who won't insult everyone but apartheid enthusiasts. Happy Valentine's Day.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What this woman is saying shouldn't raise too many eyebrows when you consider the constant reinforcement of Japan's uniqueness and foreign otherness. It isn't such a large jump from believing Japan is unique and so radically different from other countries to believing that it would be too difficult for foreigners to integrate and therefore undesirable and destabilizing for Japan for them to even try do so. This isn't such an extreme position when you consider the kind of mindset Japanese education and the media try to cultivate.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The right-wingers,arch- conservatives, faschistoids like Sono Ayako that rule the roost in Japan today are the inevitable result of a bungled US occupation that merely cut off the tail and not the head of the venemous snake of Japanese Fascism. The tragedy of 20th century Japenese history can be summed up in one word: ANTI-COMMUNISM. The fear of the Japanese ruling clrcles that they could lose their privileged positions through democratic social movements culminating in a possiblea communist revolution was perhaps the main factor in the selfish decision to waste the lives of miilions in war and conquest in order to preserve their position and power.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Author Ayako Sono, considered part of Abe’s informal brain trust

I hope the formal brain trust is a little smarter..

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'd say this is by and large the reality Chinese construction workers, Brazilian dekasegi, Indonesian and Filipino nurses and assorted black company immigrant workers have been faciing for a long time--living in virtual Bantustans and dealing with more outright discrimination than we can fathom (assuming the vast majority of commenters here are white professionals from well-off nations). That said, while we may not be judged inferior, at least by the majority, we sure make the vast majority uncomfortable.

Upthread someone said: "I lived in Japan for many years, have studied the country and language formally, speak it fluently to a professional working standard and have a Japanese wife."

I'm sure that describes the situation for many of us, and yet despite all that, on a daily basis the empty seat near me is always the last one filled on the train, many opting to stand in lieu of gaining proximity to a gaijin--this in supposedly enlightened Kobe, with exposure to foreigners for more than a century in a half. Rationalize it any way you like, in their defense or in how it's a minor irritant to you--it is an unchanging reality here. My family is here b/c it's financially in our best interests, but these Weimar-like times are making me rethink our plans.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

@US I think that pretty much sums up what happened, however I dont claim to be an expert on the matter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

5petals, US is exactly correct. Read John Dower's magisterial Embracing Defeat for the whole, depressing story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nothing new here, but the same old crap.Though Japan will never be like the U.S.A in terms of immigration.But to alienate Foreigners like Ayako Sono has suggested is not right.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

it only shows how backward thinking japan is. no big difference with the education system.

to outsiders planning to study here.. no, only come here on a short term or exchange program, go to other countries for a long term degree program.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The only surprising thing about this is that people seem surprised by it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It makes me sick that people like her even exist. And to think that Japanese government appointed her as an educational reform adviser.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Abe, with friends like that, you don't really need enemies.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I find most people the comments posted here at least as disturbing as the content of the article. Am I the only one who thinks it ironic that most of the commenters seem to biased against the Japanese? Don't paint the entire populace with the same brush you reserve for the politicians. I've been here twenty years, own a house, have a Japanese wife, and the vast majority of the people I've met these past two decades have been wonderful. Are there some (mostly older) xenophobic bigots out there? Of course there are, but if any of you can't honestly say the same thing about your country, please don't single out the Japanese for your ire.

I'm originally from the U.S., and there are still a tremendous amount of racial problems there. And segregation. And what amounts economic apartheid. I'm not defending the asshat Sono - with attitudes like that she should in no way be allowed an advisory role in any administration - but I also realize that one doesn't need to scratch the political surface in my country of origin very deeply to find an equal number of outrageous and offensive attitudes. Temper your arguments people and focus them on the appropriate targets, not the citizenry as a whole.

Unless of course you happen to hail from a country with absolutely no racial issues, issues with inequality - or immigration problems, in which case - carry on.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Gene WheelerFeb. 14, 2015 - 05:01PM JST

Unless of course you happen to hail from a country with absolutely no racial issues, issues with inequality - or immigration problems, in which case - carry on.

You're really missing the point. This isn't some commentary on the present situation resulting from some historical legacy. Worded by some burger flipper in Buttsville.

This is a proposal for some future policy worded by someone who has the PM's ear and is/was in an influential position.

The fact that this person, who promotes Apartheid South Africa as a model to copy, is in such an influential position, says a lot for Japanese public opinion and attitudes. After all this is not North Korea or China, Japanese people elect their representatives/ spokespeople, and by association those non-elected officials who speak for those elected representatives.

No one is attacking your Shizuoka Brigadoon or friendly Kenji next door. They are just saying that Sono represents a larger volume of Japanese public opinion than many, outside Japan, would give credit for and are giving examples of it: from accommodation problems, to work related problems to social awkwardness in public places, whether it be on a bus, train or receiving service in a restaurant.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

"not everyone is racist all the way around. this article only sheds some truth into the limelight. It will not change a thing until possibly the next two -three generations are long gone."

to : " there are still a tremendous amount of racial problems there" Sure but multi-culturalism does not work as it only brings about more racial tensions, and the utopian New World Order model will never work on this earth too many differences.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The right-wingers,arch- conservatives, faschistoids like Sono Ayako that rule the roost in Japan today are the inevitable result of a bungled US occupation that merely cut off the tail and not the head of the venemous snake of Japanese Fascism

Yep, this can be attributed to one person: MacArthur, and his decision to let Hirohito off the hook. If the emperor had been tried or forced to abdicate - as the person of supreme authority - that would've set the tone for the rest of the country to accept responsibility for the war. Sono is a product of that decision - come home to roost

1 ( +8 / -8 )

Just one factoid, she is a Catholic, and her Catholic name is "Marie Elizabeth". She needs a good talking to from the Pope.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Those that think this xenophobic, seperatist mentality in the Japanese or even the tendency to be conservative in their politics suddenly materialized in 1945 or is the outsider MacArthur's fault REALLY do need to read a bit more history. If you keep spouting off such nonsense you're going to get called out pretty quickly.

I'm sorry to burst your pretty little polemic, guys, but the trends you refer to started WAAAAYY before 1945...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

dude she should be the new head of the Cool Japan initiative

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@jerseyboy, not sure about your experience but in mine, even a foreigner with permanent visa can be an apt guarantor.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've lived here 30 years. We bought a house. I have a kid in university here, another one employed fulltime, grandkids.

I can't just leave, and really don't want to, but lately I've been having nightmares about experiencing something like what happened to my grandparents during the Nazi occupation in Europe. I feel insecure, sometimes even scared. Weimar-like times indeed...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a series of pledges in a Diet speech Thursday to carry out sweeping reforms. Empowerment of women took centre stage ............ “I intend to create a society where all women who play active roles at home, in their communities, and at their workplaces can shine with confidence and pride in the lives they are leading,”......... Ayako Sono has driven a coach and horses over this pledge. Ayako Sono toxic brand about the theory and place of women in society is summed up simply “women should quit their jobs once they give birth, why do women insist on keeping their jobs, at the expense of burdening their employers?”......In essence women have no role in the work place, they should remain at home barefoot and pregnant.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reluctance to distance the government or slap down the appalling prejudice Ayako Sono defends further brings into question his cabinet position in front line politics. Ayako Sono is not only an embarrassment to modern 21st century Japanese society, but brings into question any credibility of the LPD's ability to deliver on crucial election manifesto commitments. Purge the old mother hubbard, if Ayako Sono wishes to bring apartheid to Japan then create an environment on one of the 6,000 smaller islands and banish the like minded so they can wallow in their prejudice.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Okitokidoki. Dont worry, Japanese aren't so bold to go through with those extremes you've just mentioned. & if they did, the global community would drop them from their friend list like a hot potato.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This minister's statements probably were directed at non-white/European foreigners in Japan. White foreigners shouldn't worry too much about this, so people here should just relax. Japan wants to keep the current segregation going, for what they consider the inferior races. That means Zainichi Koreans, Chinese immigrants, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Brazilians, etc etc. who all by the way, are already segregated in some ways if we look at it closely.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Obviously, racism and discrimination are not leaving Japan and the rest of the world anytime soon. There are still far too many people living in the past instead of thinking about a better future.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This minister's statements probably were directed at non-white/European foreigners in Japan. White foreigners shouldn't worry too much about this, so people here should just relax.

Of course I don't see apartheid happening in Japan, but suppose as in your scenario the 'white' me wasn't personally segregated, I would still be effected as a member of the human race. I wouldn't want to pay taxes to and support the economy of such a government.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I believe this woman (and Abe) are thinking of the system in places like Dubai and Singapore, where poorly paid, third-world workers live in special dormitories and are basically slave labour with no rights. This is the kind of system they would like to introduce to Japan: it can be seen as an extension of the "trainee" program.

Abe and friends have noted that this modern form of apartheid/slavery has been widely adopted and there are few people pressing for sanctions against those countries (mainly in the middle east) which use it. Abe sees it as an ideal solution to the alleged labour shortage in Japan: bring in foreigners, but give them no rights, pay them less than the minimum wage, work them to death, ignore safety rules and deport troublemakers at will. After all, that olympic stadium won't build itself, will it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Scrote exactly.

Sounds like what she wants is a population of slaves tucked conveniently out of the way in slums. Nice lady.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Gary Raynor. Two things #1 the fact that you know I live in Shizuoka is a bit creepy, since I didn't mention it in my post - but I'm pleased to know that you recognize that Shizuoka is in fact, Brigadoon. #2 Sono is an ex-advisor to Abe - not a current one. The fact that she thinks we should all live on an island away from the rest of Japan can hardly be considered a proposal. I think it is closer to the rantings of a crazy old lady.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@JeffLee

One of the Tokyo metro officials recently proposed the same: an artificial island in the bay for foreign residents.

We already have this - Tennozu Isle! Even after all these years, I still can't believe they put the Immigration Bureau there!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obviously the aparthied idea is bad but I'm not in favor of a big wave of immigration either not everywhere needs to be a melting pot and what's with the big sense of entitlement from people who don't even speak the language and as far as the comments about us foreigners being the ones paying Japan's pension stop kidding yourself Japan is like 98% Japanese

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

"Our immigration policy is predicated on equality, which is guaranteed in Japan."

HahahahaHAHAHAHA!!!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ya, I know, huh? How many years did it take for us to get jyuminhyou after Tama the seal did?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The sad reality whether accepted or not is that there's really no point in living in Japan if you're not from there. Come to Canada, we'd be happy to have you. It's a bit cold today though, that's our limiting factor haha, but the rest of the year is pleasant.

Other countries too I'm sure are also appealing and would be happy to have you. You have options!

As a global people we're moving away from nation states as identity and Japan refuses to move forward. Human rights are global. I love the country, it can be fun or even rewarding professionally, but at some point you have to realize acceptance is not there. People obviously can ignore that and keep it up but eventually it means something. Either with new family or when you're stuck in your job

What are you working there for? You deserve better. Or your could dress up like Tama the seal I suppose. Japan will never understand this irony. That's a sign you shouldn't stay for long.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why not let them decide whether they are going to live together or not. I'm concerned about a little conflict between different races, but giving immigrants a brochure about Japanese culture beforehand so they can get to know how they are supposed to act in Japan would be great policy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I;d bet she thinks she is practicing her free speech when she was in 1950;s without realizing society changed. As for Abe and Suga, they included her representing people who know life during WWii and it did not work so they got rid of her but they are following Japanese culture. They just let old people talk out and never insult old folks.

It is best to integrate immigrants in Japanese society.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm just sitting here in London reading all these comments and for the first time ever I'm seriously beginning to question why I'm even bothering to learn Japanese when it seems foreigners are simply not wanted. Pretty depressing when you think about it actually. Maybe I should just jack it in and not bother anymore and go learn another language?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@LondonJoe: This is JT comment section for JT subscribers. We don't discuss with Japanese language.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LondonJon: I'm just sitting here in London reading all these comments and for the first time ever I'm seriously beginning to question why I'm even bothering to learn Japanese when it seems foreigners are simply not wanted.

Is it really that bad? I'd think people were silly if they decided not to visit USA just because they picked up some KKK or Al Sharpton literature.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Remember when the Brazilian-Japanese were encouraged to come back to the 'country of their ancestors' to work in the auto industry, and then encouraged to clear off when the world economy collapsed around 2007/8? Idiots like this woman were probably involved in those policies too. I have more faith in the general population than in the members of these so-called think tanks living in silos.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am thinking of investing in Japan by buying some apartments and renting them to foreigners.Statistically, foreigners are much less likely to cause problems, they have a sponsor,they are limited by regulations on their stay in Japan. The majority of Japaneae nationals are xenophobic and want nothing to do with foreigners. it will be their loss and a my gain...... and @LondonJon- I'd be learning Russian or Chineae if I were you!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@LondonJon Keep learning Japanese. It's too easy for people to deal in generalisations and to tar all Japanese with the same brush. I haven't met "the majority" of Japanese (who has?) but I can say I have never had a negative experience in Japan due to being non-Japanese. This applies as much to my time in hustling, bustling Tokyo as it does to the backwaters of Sado Island. I feel there are great similarities between the English and the Japanese and I've been told I'm comfortable to be with, despite my poor language abilities. You'll love it in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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