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South Africa slams newspaper column praising apartheid

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Welll... that was silly by the Sankei Shimbun... publishing such an honest article...

Do they really want the rest of the world to finally figure out, what Japan is all about?

24 ( +33 / -9 )

When asked about the column on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government would “refrain from commenting on the personal views of a private individual”

The chief cabinet secretary's refusal to denounce Sono's endorsement of racial segregation conveys a lot about the policy of Japan's current government.

What if Suga had simply responded that the Japanese government is opposed to apartheid and supports racial equality (like leaders in virtually all other democracies most certainly would have done)? He would have risked fueling the ire of their staunch supporters from Japan's right wing — something the current ruling administration obviously avoids at all costs.

40 ( +42 / -2 )

In 2005, as reported by the BBC, "An independent investigator for the UN says racism in Japan is deep and profound, and the government does not recognise the depth of the problem."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4671687.stm

10 years on and we find that the Abe government now actually condones the problem with it's "no comment" reply to a very public expression of the "personal views of a private individual" who has received public funds for her involvement in the public affairs of the nation.

34 ( +39 / -5 )

Personally I found the context of what Suga said to be against my values. However shouldn't immigration reform be a subject taken with due consideration to both sides? Many issues with society, racism, and immigration are still being explored and lessons from the past being learned and paid for today. Citizens of nations with lots experience in this such as Australia, France, and the US, still face the basic hurdles of integration daily. By what I read, large-scale immigration without proper integration into society has resulted into solving one problem and seeing another, or in some cases, even being worse off than before. By living in the States, Europe, and here I've heard some interesting theories. Apartheid is certainly not the answer. Any thoughts on how to realistically and successfully integrate into society?

-8 ( +10 / -18 )

What, conservative Japanese politician a racist?....no waay!! I think it must once again be all those foreigners " misunderstanding " what she said, because they uhm, argh, " don't understand Japanese culture".

12 ( +17 / -5 )

On one side Japan wants to reap the benefits of foreign workers taking care of there people and working in there factories on low end jobs on the other hand if apartheid is the answer that right wing Japan can offer then its economy is headed for doomsday. Opinion makers ar often used by government think tanks to test troubled waters before making future plans.

Racism in Japan is quite common and can be easily experienced if you live and work here for some time and you happen not to be an American or European

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government would “refrain from commenting on the personal views of a private individual.”

A recent advisor to your cabinet is hardly a private individual. Failure to condemn = condoning.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

At times it seems Japan lives in it's own bubble. But now that information is accessible worldwide it has to reckon with detestable comments from people like Sono.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Another misunderstanding. What's wrong with China Town or little Italy in USA? Besides, how Japanese design Japan's town is none of other countries business. It's not like Japan is forcing foreigners to come to Japan. Completely different from British go to South Africa and run the country by apartheid. But I admit her choice of the word was wrong. Maybe she is getting old.

-40 ( +6 / -46 )

"Any thoughts on how to realistically and successfully integrate into society?"

Yeah. For a few generations, let's make it compulsory to marry someone of a different nationality or different ethnicity or who speaks a different language or follows a different religion. Ah, but you said realistic. Well, as a first step, how about tax breaks for children of such marriages?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

difficult for people with different lifestyles to live together

Let's put Sono's plan into action. 'Comfort' workers are hauled in to take care of aging Japanese & do industrial work in Tokyo and Osaka. Indians here, Philippinos here, Nigerians over there, et cetera.

And the Japanese must live over there; right wing Japanese here, moderate Japanese there, young Japanese way the f-- over there, and old Japanese here.

And in about 100 years, what will happen? Tokyo and Osaka will be huge enclaves of foreigners with very few Japanese. And a tax revolt (No taxation without representation) basically bankrupting Japan as a country. Okay. Only writing

from my personal experience,

of course. And

I was drunk so I don't remember.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

albaleo: Yeah. For a few generations, let's make it compulsory to marry someone of a different nationality or different ethnicity or who speaks a different language or follows a different religion.

Gen 4, we'll all be café au lait.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

tinawatanabeFEB. 16, 2015 - 09:16AM JST Another misunderstanding. What's wrong with China Town or little Italy in USA?

Yep, it sure didn't take long for the typical " misunderstanding " excuse to come up. Fyi Tina , places like Chinatown or little Italy are there because those immigrants choose to open up business or live in those areas of their own choice. Not.because government has a policy of making them live there, segregated from the rest which us what this racist " ex govt advisor " is suggesting. Your comparison is not valid.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

she “was only writing from my personal experience that it is difficult for people with different lifestyles to live together”.

Kind of like all those old people in Setagaya ward who don't want any child care facilities built there because of the noise that kids would bring to the neighbourhood?

I'm glad crabby old Sono's comments were published by Sankei. It gives a chance for such moronic thinking to be highlighted and exposed.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Hey, you reap what you sow. Japan doesn't realize that the real threat comes from the inside. 'Holier-than-thou' attitudes and thinking that because you are 'smart' you can't fail is exactly what dooms people.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@Sensato

What if Suga had simply responded that the Japanese government is opposed to apartheid and supports racial equality

Actually he did, if you bothered to read the next paragraph.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Sono Ayako who never lived outside of Japan should not provide any comment on international political issues. She is a very ignorant person.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

marcelito, I said she used a wrong word she didn't mean. People should see the content or intention, not the one wrong word itself. If you read her books (there're lots of them), you'll see she is not discriminating person, quite contrary very generous person. If you don't trust what Japan does, don't go there, then you're safe.

-39 ( +3 / -42 )

Japan immogration policy is self-serving. Those foreigners among us who yearn for "justice" and "equality" will never find it here. That's just the way it's going to be. In fact, I think it's only goimg to get worse...

11 ( +12 / -1 )

What did Ms Sono say? Why there is no quote?

Would anyone find what she actually said?

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

As some posters have said, the 'no comment' from the government says A LOT. This will not die down. I don't see UK and USA, two countries which Japan look up to, responding kindly to this.

You either want immigrant workers to come and do your dirty jobs and treat them like humans, or you do it yourself. The only good thing is that people like Sono and Ishihara have one foot in the grave already. If they're not careful, in their dying days, they could be at the mercy of one of these undesirable third-world nurses.

Once again, Japan's rivals in Asia don't need to do or say anything to make Japan look bad. They're doing a great job themselves.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I love Japan and intend to stay and work towards a better future for Japan, as its just as important to me, my family and my children as any "japanese" person.. but for a cabinet member to say that there is equality under the law for legal and contributing immigrants is laughable.

A country where it is legal for example to refuse accommodation to someone based on race or citizenship clearly still has a lot of work to do. (proof of income, valid visa, contracts stipulating the use of the property are all fine.. but to outright refuse.. is the stuff of the kinds of societies no-one should want to be a part of)

I actually have fairly strong ideas about immigration too, that Japan should ensure that people who do wish to work and live here are fully fulfilling their legal obligations and are beneficial members of the community, however to suggest in away they should be treated as a separate class of human is totally and utterly disgusting, private or not, the idea that anyone that thinks that way is, or was, in government here is beyond excuse.

There has been some progress on immigration, visas, and registrations and so on but its far behind other countries.

Just allow duel citizenship or permanent residents the same rights as citizens please then this silly distinction can start ebbing away, and we can all work together as equals for a prosperous future. :-)

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Another misunderstanding. What's wrong with China Town or little Italy in USA? Besides, how Japanese design Japan's town is none of other countries business. It's not like Japan is forcing foreigners to come to Japan. Completely different from British go to South Africa and run the country by apartheid. But I admit her choice of the word was wrong. Maybe she is getting old.

If she meant something like Chinatown or Little Italy, she could have said Chinatown or Little Italy... But no, she suggested apartheid and praised it because blacks "ruined" the areas previously reserved for whites in South Africa.

You're right about her getting old though. Her way of thinking is completely outdated, so I'm not sure why you defend it. The ruling party having her on an advisory board should be an embarrassment to anyone in Japan.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

@therougou

@Sensato

What if Suga had simply responded that the Japanese government is opposed to apartheid and supports racial equality

Actually he did, if you bothered to read the next paragraph.

Let's look at that next paragraph:

As for Japan’s immigration policy, equality for all under the law is guaranteed

...meaning we immigrants are (theoretically) all equal under the law.

Unless naturalized, it's fantasy to believe we have the same rights as Kokumin.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"A recent advisor to your cabinet is hardly a private individual. Failure to condemn = condoning."

The above is SenseNotSocommon's comment. I couldn't agree with him/her more. I posted a similar comment regarding this, but I feel like I need to repeat it. Abe chose her as his advisor, being fully aware of her views on various social issues. So the problem is not just what this woman said or the newspaper had the gall to publish it, but Abe apparently shares or likes her views, at least in his innermost mind. Why people still let him stay as PM is beyond me

5 ( +5 / -0 )

With a shrinking and rapidly ageing population, policymakers in Japan are confronted with the challenge of how to address the issues that arise as a result of these trends.

Many experts have suggested that immigration/the acceptance of non-Japanese to provide labor is going to be necessary in the coming decades. The historic aversion in Japan to even limited immigration makes this a challenge for Japanese policymakers, a conundrum undoubtedly they have continued to wrestle with in private and probably in countless internal policy papers.

Sono's comments/ideas, as repugnant as they are, probably represent a rare insight into some of the ideas being considered and the views being circulated within the government. As such, while the government may suggest that these are merely her personal ideas, they probably should be given more weight.

As such, two things are clear, I would argue: 1) the Japanese government is likely seriously considering expanding significantly the scope and number of non-Japanese that will be permitted to live and work in Japan, and 2) they likely still have NO idea how to manage this even though they probably see it as a necessity.

Undoubtedly they are looking around the world to see how other countries deal with these types of matters. While Sono has discussed South Africa as a potential model, there are also the oil rich countries of the Middle East that import workers en masse, but under horrific/repressive conditions in many cases, particularly for unskilled/low skilled laborers.

Given Japan's aversion, as a general matter, to accepting immigrants that are permanent, as opposed to their willingness to accept foreign skilled workers that "temporarily" come to Japan to provide services), one thing is almost certain. Any arrangement they put in place will likely be something that is "temporary", that can be unwound when it is considered no longer necessary, and that will not permanently change the ethnic makeup of the Japanese population. I am not saying I agree with that, I am just saying that I would be surprised if this were not the case.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ayako Sono is stupid. I do not mean that figuratively. That she is published and an ex-advisor to Abe says a lot about her publishers and about Abe. What Sono did was to underscore a prevailing attitude in this country. We have apartheid in housing, apartheid in employment and apartheid in education. Only it not talked about openly. Sono is like the pet parrot that is has been taught obscenities that escapes one day and squawks what it has learned all over town.

Listen to the dodges in response to Sono's squawks.

The Abe government: "Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government would “refrain from commenting on the personal views of a private individual”, adding that while Sono had been a member of a government panel she had left it two years previously." Hey, this is not a personal view. It was published. It concerns important Japanese polices. And she had been an Abe advisor. You would think that at least Suga could have said was that the government thought the abolition of apartheid in South Africa was a good thing.

Then there is the right-wing Sankei Shimbun. "The Sankei’s senior editor said that the newspaper does not tolerate discrimination, and the column reflects only the author’s opinion." This is a particularly egregious dodge. The Senkei does not publish a colorful variety of opinions from all sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing mouthpiece. One has to presume there was some kind of sympathy for Sono's piece to have it published. "Only the author's opinion" does not wash in this case. The Sankei is not an open forum.

So thanks to Sono's moronic article the world is again looking askance at Japan. Japan needs foreign workers because of its falling birth rate. People considering working here will think twice.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Kind of happens already.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@avigator

If the statistics make non-Japanese looking people small percent minority, you really can't be upset every time people make casual assumptions and call you "gaijin." I am an Asian looking person with a permanent residency, who has been living in the most liberal state of US melting pot over 15 years and people still think I am foreigner. I could be a citizen just like many other American people of Asian descents. But people naturally assume I am foreigner. Why do I let that bother me? Is it BAD to be a foreigner or something? Why should you care?

And a term gaijin(外人) simply means "foreign person" just like gaisha (外車) means foreign car. No offence should be taken.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

SenseNotSoCommonFeb. 16, 2015 - 10:44AM JST ...meaning we immigrants are (theoretically) all equal under the law. Unless naturalized, it's fantasy to believe we have the same rights as Kokumin.

But we are kokumin. We all are citizens of some country. Go and take a look at the Japanese constitution. In some places it says specifically "nihonnokokumin" (people of Japan), in others just "kokumin" (people), so the word is obviously being used in two different ways, one for "people of Japan" and one for "people".

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

"“was only writing from my personal experience that it is difficult for people with different lifestyles to live together”."

Hahaha... only took a few hours for the moron and her moronic and racist supporters to claim she was 'misunderstood'. And the government has come straight out and proclaimed its endorsement of such racist policies by not commenting on what she said. They don't say anything about "the comments of an individual"? BS! They sure have a lot to say when an individual says something they don't like. As such, the 'no comment' from Suga and the Abe gov't is proof that they agree with what she says.

Shame on Japan!

12 ( +16 / -4 )

marcelito, I said she used a wrong word she didn't mean "

She is a published author as you said which means her article was proof checked a number if times before published - so her final version says exactly what she meant to say.

" if you don't trust what Japan does, don't go there ".... What does that have to do with anything? I like Japan as a country and overall I think majority of Japanese are nice people. It doesn't mean I don't have the right to disagree with racist comments from.an individual who uses apartheid as a.model for immigration policy. Do you agree with it or not?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Frungy,

But we are kokumin

I applaud your optimism. Will the judge?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I was waiting to be told that everyone had misunderstood this, or that she was misquoted:

What did Ms Sono say? Why there is no quote?

and

Another misunderstanding.

and

I said she used a wrong word she didn't mean. People should see the content or intention, not the one wrong word itself.

Yet the Wall Street Journal tells us that:

Ms. Sono told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that she wouldn't discuss the column. "If there is an error in the article, I would correct it. I am a human and I make errors. But that piece doesn't have any errors," she said.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2015/02/13/author-causes-row-with-remarks-on-immigration-segregation/

6 ( +8 / -2 )

blvtzpkFeb. 16, 2015 - 12:15PM JST

So?

What did Ms Sono actually say?

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

CH3CHO- Like it hasn't been in the news for two days, including this site:

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/former-adviser-to-abe-praises-apartheid

She praised apartheid, flat out.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

You can't find it??? Don't play dumb.

You're using the Internet - I don't need to show you how a search engine works.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Sono, who was previously an adviser to the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on education reform, wrote that Japan needs immigrant workers to help care for its rapidly aging population—but that those workers should “live apart”, as they did in South Africa under apartheid.

Ms. Sono, desist from embarrassing yourself. We gaijin, or at least some us, have been intermingling with the general population since the beginning of the Meiji period.

She said she was not proposing Japan implement apartheid policies, and that she “was only writing from my personal experience that it is difficult for people with different lifestyles to live together”.

Ah, that clears things up. Me too in the way that I've always felt uncomfortable being in close proximity to people who lack the intelligence/tolerance/both to accept and adapt. That would include a evolutionary-challenged like yourself Ms. Sono.

@tina

how Japanese design Japan's town is none of other countries business.

True in some cases. However, in the case of segregation, my Japanese wife, and the rest of my in-laws, would like to point out that you do not represent them, and they laugh at any pretense that you do.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

In a nutshell, the Japanese government won't support her - but they won't criticise her either. Enough said

2 ( +6 / -4 )

ah yes another embarrassing moment to be gaijin living in Japan for the umpteenth time!

And once again the STUPID govt doesn't(well in this case maybe it does!) realize the silence is actually the SAME as saying something DOH!

So glad I don't have kids in this country, what a mess Japan is getting to be, those that do have kids please do your best to make sure they learn another language in addition to Japanese!

I used to have similar thoughts like NZ2011 but I ditched them well over 15yrs ago, Japan seemed hell bent then on not fixing things or improving peoples lives & fast forward 15years & it is MUCH MUCH worse!

The entire idea that Japan seems it is its right to just import worker drones at low cost, use them & spit them back out is offensive enough but the govt is set to vastly increase its HIGHLY problematic ""trainee"" programs.

Thing is Japan doesn't seem to realize that Japan aint the only option around, way to go Japan digging that grave a little deeper each day!

Will you ever learn?!?!??!?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

David VarnesFeb. 16, 2015 - 12:34PM JST

Thank you. So, this is what she said.

"People can carry out business and research together, and socialise together, but they should live apart," she wrote.

Is this all what she said?

I could not find the original Sankei article, possibly they have erased it.

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

I see it's tina vs. the entire JT community again--tells me all I need to know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Click on this if you want more info on what this old fool spouted!

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/12/national/author-sono-calls-racial-segregation-op-ed-piece/#.VOFcx2cfrmQ

4 ( +4 / -0 )

CH3CHO,

Read the other links provided. That was just the tip of the iceberg of the disgusting things she said. Stop playing dumb on it.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

@Tina (re Ayako Sono)

she is not discriminating person, quite contrary very generous person

Indeed. Just ask pregnant employees:

In its Aug. 31 edition, popular 81-year-old writer Ayako Sono penned a piece called “To Spoiled Little Working Girls Who Always Blame Their Companies: If You Have a Child, Quit!” Note that even in the title, she calls women “little working girls” rather than “working women.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/09/23/issues/matahara-turning-the-clock-back-on-womens-rights/#.VOFlAMZU_Ip

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@marcelito

Fyi Tina , places like Chinatown or little Italy are there because those immigrants choose to open up business or live in those areas of their own choice. Not.because government has a policy of making them live there, segregated from the rest which us what this racist

Actually "of their own choice" is an historically incorrect statement. Read the well documented article linked below to gain a broader perspective on how at least Chinatown in Vancouver, Canada was formed out of a racist discourse and practice involving different levels and branches of government.

http://www.uws.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/147843/Anderson_Idea_of_Chinatown_CCRCopyFinal.pdf

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mass immigration to repopulate the Japanese countryside...

Scenario #one: let's imagine a sleepy county in Kyushu that gets a number of high output factories where all the blue collar staff are foreign nationals...so the new arrivals get prosperity for their families, then their kids and cousins start local drinking holes and restaurants and shops and start to live to the fullest...now what about the poor old grannies and grandpas whose own grandchildren have stopped visiting for even one time each year and who don't have the guts to mingle around town with all those new Japanese citizens? Isolation within their very own community...so the longtime locals withdraw to some mountain hamlet and raise families in separation from the 'towns' where undoubtably the foreign hords have taken over and brought their vices with them from overseas...fear and loathing...enter the traveling doctor...

scenario number two: Japanese government cooperation and exchange programmes with Jamaica have brought hundreds of Rastaferian farmers to a southern Kyushu mountain community- sleepy and hot, and these wonderfully hard-working, creative individuals from overseas start coffee plantations...their harvest includes other fine herbs and vegetables and everyone raises goats...and what wonderful spiritual, musical gatherings they have! Satori is now attainable for the masses since the merging of Zen meditation with incense and other fragrant smoke...successful reverse-assimulation by the local buddhist population...of course the Japanese don't really drink or understand coffee that much, and taxes are low because the plantation is always in the red, and nobody really wants to work for 'the man', and besides a broken bone or a deep cut, the foreigners ( as well as the corrupted local youth) stop going to the local hospitals and clinics- preferring home remedies...but hey, spiritual enlightenment is abound!!! Too bad again for the poor isolated ageing population...

Scenario #three: Government-run marriage/dating/matching offices coordinate and push for international couples to settle in the countryside ( 'marry a local Japanese farmer' programs already actually exist...). With income guarantees a la Norway, people are confident and feel secure,i.e. free home plus monthly cheques of 25Man per couple, more after baby...so locals prosper and use their gov. cheques to start various entrepreneurial enterprises- shops and boutiques and cafes- and then...oh wait a moment. Japan doesn't have oil reserves like Norway has...failed programme...failed and bankrupt government...

Scenario #four : Go on. Think it up!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

GWFeb. 16, 2015 - 12:49PM JST

Thank you. Your link was very helpful.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Nowadays it doesn't seem sufficient to say the Japanese live in their own little bubble. It's more like, "The Japanese are their own worst enemies"; or how about this one: "The government of Japan is the best thing to have happened to the governments of Korea and China".

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

a world of fantasy, where people still live before WWII when apartheid and all those stuff are still very alive. might be developed in terms of its physical infrastructure, but quite a different and sad story socially.

pretty smart from the part of the African consulate to respond to that, she must be lucky as human right groups seems silence. because in the extreme sense of what she's doing, i think she can also be sued for doing that and pointing to another country, but of course, if ur govn't is at ur back, why afraid to speak such.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

'South Africa has protested after a prominent columnist in leading right-wing newspaper in Japan praised racial segregation under apartheid as a model for Japanese immigration policy'

Note to idiotic, ignorant rightists in Japan - when you foul the carpet here, the smell carries to other places. I know you couldn't care less what outsiders think, but those of us whose livelihoods rely on doing business with and selling products to people you'd like to see segregated if they had the honour of being 'welcomed' to work in your very special country really could do without it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@tinawatanabe What's wrong with China Town or little Italy in USA?** well those chinese/Italians chose to live there/together, and is why theyve grown into the towns with those names. Apartheid is the forced seperation of races in almost all parts of day to day life. Even the mention of its merits just shows your lack of understanding of apartheid and/or the subconscious racism that many Japanese have.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

the full text is here http://www.mitsuhashitakaaki.net/2015/02/13/mitsuhashi-198/ The title is "Allow them in while maintaining an appropriate distance" She says that looking at ISIS and other problems she is reminded how hard it is to understand multi-ethnic societies and people from other nations. At the same time that it will be necessary to accept foreign labor into Japan to care for the elderly especially. And she implies that these foreign workers should be required to accept their residency as temporary, and not overstay. Further taking the example of a white apartheid period apartment building, into which blacks came to live in large numbers, causing the water supply of the building to fail, resulting in the building being abandoned by the whites, she argues that, "as I have always said," doing business, research, and exercise with foreigners is okay, but living in the same place is not a good idea. [sorry if i have misrepresented anything]

Has she been to Hong Kong?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

soukaFeb. 16, 2015 - 01:09PM JST

a world of fantasy, where people still live before WWII when apartheid and all those stuff are still very alive. might be developed in terms of its physical infrastructure, but quite a different and sad story socially.

Sadly not a fantasy at all. What she proposes is precisely what happened to Brazilian-Japanese immigrants. They were segregated, pushed into ghettos and then sent home when there was an economic down-turn. And these were JAPANESE people who happened to be born in Brazil. Imagine what they'll do to real foreigners.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I could not find the original Sankei article, possibly they have erased it.

No...really?! They deleted an article that caused an uproar? Gosh! I'm outraged! Who would do such a thing?!

That would be somewhat akin to revising/rewriting history, ne? Saying the article never existed, that our memories were fooling us, that we were mistaken etc. etc. etc.

Deny, deny, deny!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

she is not discriminating person, quite contrary very generous person

Her largesse funded eugenics:

The Nippon Foundation, headed by Ayako Sono, a Japanese novelist and personal friend of Fujimori, supported (Peru's "Voluntary Surgical Contraception"). Nearly 300,000, mostly indigenous, women were coercively or forcefully sterilized during these years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Fujimori

...and harbored fugitives:

Ousted Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori has been staying at the house of popular writer Ayako Sono in Tokyo’s Ota Ward, Sono told a hastily arranged press conference Monday.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2000/11/28/national/fujimori-staying-in-home-of-nippon-foundation-chief/#.VOFzKsZU_Io

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Gals and guys - some perspective. This is just one woman's opinion, published in a conservative paper. She has as much right to air her opinions as someone has of sketching a satirical cartoon of a sacred religious figure for a certain religion. The readers of the paper apparently are conservative, and many of them will agree with what she says. Others will find it reprehensible. She doesn't speak for all of Japan, and I know many Japanese people who will say she is a nut job.

On a side note, she looks pretty good for an 80-year-old. There are some AV producers who would love to feature her in a few videos.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

@tinawatanabe

But I admit her choice of the word was wrong

Her choice of word is irrelevant. The problem is her admiration for the system, not what she called it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Jalapeno, but she was an advisor to PM Abe. If people like that are thinking like this, you have to wonder how many more Japanese in high government positions think like her. Probably the majority, considering that nobody has made a peep, all probably agreeing silently.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

But we are kokumin.

Unless you have Japanese citizenship, you are not 日本国民 (nihonnkokumin). Which is what was meant by the quote you are responding to.

Go and take a look at the Japanese constitution. In some places it says specifically "nihonnokokumin" (people of Japan), in others just "kokumin" (people), so the word is obviously being used in two different ways, one for "people of Japan" and one for "people".

Perhaps you need to look again or have someone help you out with the language. In the Japanese constitution, 日本国民 (nihonkokumin) and 国民 (kokumin) are referring to the same thing. One is merely a shortened version of the other.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Jalapeno- It is not that she has an opinion. Nutjobs can publish their opinions all the time.

The problem is that this particular nutjob not only has these disgusting opinions, but that she has had (and unofficially probably still has) a position of significant influence with the Prime Minister of this country. Then for the government to not come explicitly out against such filth is even more damning.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

We gaijin, or at least some us, have been intermingling with the general population since the beginning of the Meiji period.

I correct myself - since Bakamatsu (end of the Edo period). Could include earlier eras too for that matter, before the empire even was one.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A 30-year-old South African woman working in Japan in communications, when shown the column, shook her head and said, “I already deal with enough subtle racism at work. If a major newspaper is going to print this kind of bullshit, they empower all the racists in the country. I’ve almost had enough. Maybe we all should leave and just leave Japan to rot in its own xenophobic dementia.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/12/an-advisor-to-pm-abe-praises-apartheid-says-it-might-help-japan.html

I think what this South African woman said the foreigners in Japan should do, is a good ideal.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"Immigrant workers to help care for its rapidly aging population", what use to "live apart" for people who'll be changing her diapers? Isn't that a lot more personal than living next door?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Pity the senile woman.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I alluded to this in my earlier post in saying that Sono's comments should not be viewed purely as personal views but probably given more weight, but I was not explicit in explaining why.

In all of the articles regarding Ayako Sono and her comment's, few have focused on who she is. They have described her as a columnist and a novelist, which is true, and as a former adviser on a panel regarding education reform for PM Abe, also true.

However, this portrays in a way that greatly understates who she is and her influence in Japanese politics, particularly in the LDP. She may not be a power broker, but, by the same token, she is actually well respected within the conservative community in Japan.

Here are some interesting facts:

She become Chairman of the Japan Foundation in 1999, after its founder, Ryoichi Sasakawa, passed away. For anyone familiar with post-war Japan history, the name Ryoichi Sasakawa is one that is well known. He was an ultra-nationalist whose life story should be reviewed by anyone not familiar with him. That Sono would take over as Chairman at his passing speaks volumes of her own stance in matters related to Japan. She held this post until 2005, when Sasakawa's son took over.

She was appointed as director for the board of Japan Post Holding Co. in 2005 by Shizuoka Kamei, minister for postal reform. Anyone that knows of Kamei knows that he is a conservative politician with ties to the yakuza. Obviously his naming Sono as a director speaks volumes of her and how she was regarded by one of the more conservative Japanese politicians.

She was a key and influential member of the commission that PM Koizumi appoint to come up with the Education Reform Plan of 2001 as well as the broader reform plans that were worked on at the time. It should, then, then come as no surprise that Abe appointed her to the panel as an advisor on education reform when he became PM.

There is more to add, but this begins to give you a flavor of who Sono is and her influence. She is not just some minor ex-advisor.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Ive found that there are basically 4 types of Japanese people (a bit of a generalization, but it appears to be the majority of who I meet):

The Japanese who went abroad and never came back, the Japanese who went abroad and came back because they didnt like what they found abroad, the japanese who are a bit progressive in thought but very japanese in the way they dont upset the harmony and the very outspoken neo facist crowd. Its the latter who seem to be very popular and who Ive encountered quite often. When talking with them, it feels as if I have been orbiting some large mass of gravity and experienced time travel, then came back and found that the rest of the world had change but this dinosaur was disqualifying all of the progressive change as non japanese and his facist dream would soon be realized.The problem is that he had closed himself off from the world for so long and was so disconnected from reality that he failed to realize everything around him had progressively changed. It was like he was so overjoyed that his time had finally come, but what he preached had no modern application. An analogy would be someone was deserted on an island, found a magazine that washed ashore describing the possiblities of the vaccum tube, and when rescued tried to tell the modern world what he had found, only to be pittied at his ignorance at how old the technology was and how the world had changed.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Japanese Government needs to set up a new law a person over 70 shouldn't hold government positions. I'm seeing most of these old generations are walking timebombs ready to spout something that drags the reputation of Japan much further. The older you get, the more likelihood to reject the progressive ideas that are foreign to Japanese culture. You see it in the very comments of certain news section.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hey most of the posters here in JT we may all end up neighbours if this keeps up!!!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

GW..that's. A good one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Everybody, let's stop buying her book. Let's stop buying any books of the publishing company which supports her. Let's ask all our Japanese reading friends to act on this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

slumdog: "Pity the senile woman"

Why do you pity a racist?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Why do you pity a racist?

I pity any ignorant soul. Don't you?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well ok maybe I am wrong and I hope so and the Japanese are much more tolerant and accepting of foreigners than I think. I must say my little half Japanese boy who doesnt look a bit Japanese, he looks Anglo/Germanic if anything is completely accepted and treated so well at school. He loves school and he is very popular there great friends and girls that gave him chocolates on St Valentines Day. I am happy to be wrong.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

slumdog: "I pity any ignorant soul. Don't you?"

Not 'any', no.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Ayako Sono appears to be a nut job.

@Hotmail, nice article, I agree - the 30yr old woman has the right idea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

slumdog: "I pity any ignorant soul."

Sorry, just can't let this one go. I mean, you're saying you pity any terrorist who kills others because they believe it's the will of god, or that push their agendas on and enslave others, as this woman would do, because they are ignorant?

ShyDingo: She's definitely a nutjob, but the problem is that the nutjobs in power endorse what she is saying.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Well some body need to rethink his position, era and probably species if he is praising the Apartheid.... he is a moron, I hope his words and thoughts die with him.

...but.... there is always the but.... that is his "freedom of speech".... so people that defended it should respect what he is saying....

I don't... be cause, as I said... freedom has its limits. Sono clearly went pass its limits or at least is playing dangerously with them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whatever. I had nightmares Saturday night and woke in perfect time to watch the Millrose Games in New York. An indoor athletic meet. 5000m Suguru Osako finished 3rd and ran really well. Finished behind the black winner and the white second place getter. Have to say he looked very good. Very nice style and rhythm. No place for apartheid anywhere on earth. Even my friend trains 800m in South Africa and his training partner is white and he is black. Are we all getting our knickers in a knot.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think that she represents a large part of her generation and while I hate to see & hear people like her I can understand how they have never gotten to understand that the Japan-ness they so much love is not 100% good.

@5petals: Ive found that there are basically 4 types of Japanese people (a bit of a generalization, but it appears to be the majority of who I meet):The Japanese who went abroad and never came back, the Japanese who went abroad and came back because they didnt like what they found abroad, the japanese who are a bit progressive in thought but very japanese in the way they dont upset the harmony and the very outspoken neo facist crowd.

Yes, indeed. We all know from some of your previous comments on JT that you always encounter the worst of the Japanese and there is a dark trait lurking in many Japanese and they need a third party to keep them in check; that you believe that the Japanese can probably eat their babies if the need comes, etc., etc. Of course, we have been told that the person who had told you this or that has died or the link you have used to watch a terrible thing by somebody Japanese cannot be found, etc.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Right wing nationalists are always so narrow-minded, as a result of their fear that their race could become 'contaminated'. The logic of Sono's reasoning is profoundly flawed and tries to further make matters worse instead of trying to approach the original problem of Japan's declining birthrate with humanly uncorrupted solutions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Completely different from British go to South Africa and run the country by apartheid.

@Tina Watanabe- I am surprised nobody has challenged you on the following. It was not the British who introduced apartheid. It was the Afrikaner led National Party who came into power in 1948 and ruled until 1994. It is true that South Africa was still a union under the UK but the British did not introduce apartheid. Please check your facts before making such statements!!!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Not 'any', no.

I did not say 'forgive' or 'give a pass to' or that 'they are correct about anything'. I said, 'pity'. I feel sorry for any ignorant person and I am glad I am not them. As I wrote, she is probably in the first stages of dementia. I feel for anyone in such a state. Either that or she's an idiot. I feel bad for them, too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

She said she was not proposing Japan implement apartheid policies, and that she “was only writing from my personal experience that it is difficult for people with different lifestyles to live together”.

So all Japanese people share the same lifestyle and live in perfect harmony with their Japanese neighbours do they????? Deluded woman.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

my Japanese wife, and the rest of my in-laws, would like to point out that you do not represent them, and they laugh at any pretense that you do.

ReformedBasher, Why should I care what your wife and in-laws think? I've never claimed my opinion represent the Japanese. i have read many of her books, so I know a little about her so I said she was misunderstood.

She said she did not advocate apartheid, which I believe because it is impossible to practice that in Japan which Constition guarantees freedom of moving. So, obviously she meant something else.

Her stating her opinion is not illegal based on freedom of speech. It's not like Japan is going ahead with her idea. The other countries should pay attention to the official policies, not to every Japanese. I would say they build their counties better places before telling Japan what to do within Japan.
-20 ( +1 / -21 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, is the visual definition of car crash diplomacy present in any cabinet member this LDP government promoted to polical office. In slow motion, Yoshihide Suga toe curling lurch between incompetence and a singular lack of culpability in assessing the impact Ayako Sono damaging remarks has on Japan integrity to prevent discrimination on the grounds of race.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is a object lesson in the ignorance of seniority trumping a candidate with a solid background attained from a proven track record from foreign diplomacy. Ayako Sono has a toxic reputation for intolerance and prejudice stretching back decades, obstinately devoted to her own opinions on segregating racial ethnic groups, yet gained a influential role as an adviser to the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on education reform, it beggars belief.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2015/02/13/author-causes-row-with-remarks-on-immigration-segregation/

http://freethinker.co.uk/2015/02/15/catholic-advocates-old-sa-style-apartheid/

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A fine collection of anti-Japan comments under this topic. I could not detect anything which would contribute in creating a better Japan. Writers must feel better after venting their frustrations that Japan is not like their perfect native countries.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

Presto345, you have missed the point COMPLETELY. Also, you bash others for 'anti-Japan' comments but failed to contribute anything yourself.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

presto345, Anti-Japan comments? I see a lot of anti-apartheid and anti-right wing (the group that picked this relic as an advisor) comments. Maybe the view is different from up there on your high horse.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Sono san; if you don know then i am going to explain to you Foreigners are Human beings, yea and the one person/foreigner whom you see walking on the road alone is not just one person, has has love one a whole family depending on him, counting the days he spent in your country, he is caring a heavy pain of the separation from his parents and children back home, they all want peace to bear their pain. if you can not understand them if can not create harmony with them, please do not rub salt on their injures.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@NYc

I am an Asian looking person with a permanent residency, who has been living in the most liberal state of US melting pot over 15 years and people still think I am foreigner

Oh you poor thing! Seems I remember places in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii being almost 100% Asian. Dont want to move? The gov of Washington was Chinese. The SECDEF was a Japanese American. Look at the governers in Guam, Hawaii, youll find most of the time they are Asian. The governer of Lousiana is Indian. You can always move to a more diverse place.

@Jane M

Sorry if I come across as a Japan basher, I am in fact not. but neither do I make comments that I think my gaiin brethren should be ostracized, alienated and shunned just because they are gaijin. Concerning the baby eating, I guess your alluding to the canniblism thread? Well, did it not happen during WW2? Was it not denied as well?

Do you support aparthied and ghettos? I dont. Been there done that, was not fun and therefore cannot defend it. Can I and others not speak out against it? My comments are not meant to hate on Japan, just responding to the article, because I am a gaijin.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Maybe the view is different from up there on your high horse.

Funny how the idiom is conveniently used by those who show arrogance themselves.

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

I dont know why the haters cant contribute something positive to the thread. I especially liked loggind post and his #2 reccomendation:

scenario number two: Japanese government cooperation and exchange programmes with Jamaica have brought hundreds of Rastaferian farmers to a southern Kyushu mountain community- sleepy and hot, and these wonderfully hard-working, creative individuals from overseas start coffee plantations...their harvest includes other fine herbs and vegetables and everyone raises goats...and what wonderful spiritual, musical gatherings they have! Satori is now attainable for the masses since the merging of Zen meditation with incense and other fragrant smoke...successful reverse-assimulation by the local buddhist population...of course the Japanese don't really drink or understand coffee that much, and taxes are low because the plantation is always in the red, and nobody really wants to work for 'the man',

song and dance, zen meditation with fragrant smoke, while dissin the man, sounds good to me!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The article written by novelist Ayako Sano should be judged as her opinion and her opinion alone. Being a novelist and a former adviser, she could have chosen a different way to express her views if she wanted to. What she wrote is how she feels. Don't judge by just one word, but like kanji one letter can have several meanings. This word alone speaks volumes and horrors atttributed to different races that were forced, not choice to live through. I have been fortunate not to experiment racism or bias that some say they had here in Japan. I am not saying that it does not exist but I have been treated with only respect and dignity. I can honestly say that I had experienced racism alot more and often in my own country.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@presto345:

Several comments:

I think the idea that all of the comments here are anti-Japan is a sweeping generalisation and a false one at that. There have been a wide variety of comments and I think it would be fair to say that they have addressed this topic from a variety of angles. Certainly my previous comments were not intended to be be anti-Japan and if you think they are, I would be happy to discuss. If there were specific comments you believe to be anti-Japan, then you should address those specific comments. I also don't think the vast majority of comments were intended to vent frustrations that Japan is not like their native countries. My comments certainly expressed nothing in relation to my "native" country (although I was born and raised in Japan). There was an article regarding this topic and I was providing my thoughts on the comments made and the individual that made them. The reason why people are commenting is obvious. They are reading this website, which means they have some tie to Japan. Japan matters to them, for whatever reason. I would venture to say that, for those that are non-Japanese, many of them have deep and longstanding ties to Japan. Thus, their comments. That may not be true for everyone, but it certainly is true for me, for one. It is possible to take issue with Sono's comments and the thinking it represents without being anti-Japan. Otherwise, the implication is that any Japanese that takes issue with her comments is also anti-Japan. If certain comments are truly anti-Japan, in your mind, you should highlight them.

@tinawatanabe:

A few thoughts on your posts as well:

I have also read some of Sono's novels, albeit in translated form and a long time ago. She is most certainly a respected novelist and has contributed to society positively in that respect. However, that does not mean that her political/policy views are above reproach and it most certainly does not mean that she should be given the benefit in the political/policy realm just because of her work in the literary world. Her follow-up comments said that she was not advocating apartheid in Japan; however, that is exactly what she was suggesting in her original column. Here are her words, translated in English: “I have come to believe, after 20-30 years knowing about the actual situation in Republic of South Africa, that when it comes to residential zones, the Whites, Asians, and Blacks should be separated and live in different areas [in Japan].” That is absolutely advocacy for apartheid in Japan. This was clearly not intended to be consumed by those that do not read the Sankei (and certainly not non-Japanese), but that does not in any way change the fact of what was said. Of course her comments were not illegal and she is free to speak her mind. However, the reason why there is an outcry and there is concern is that she was specifically recommending a policy implemented by a a specific country that resulted in its near universal boycott because of its repulsiveness, that the Sankei newspaper saw fit to print an article like this (an indictment of Sankei itself), and that she has had past affiliation with the Abe government. I think there would have been a reaction to the article because of the mention of the South African apartheid system as a model regardless of the past connection to the Abe government, but the past affiliation to the Abe government only heightened the reaction. As importantly, because of Abe's already conservative leanings, I believe there is real concern that she may be voicing ideas already being discussed amongst conservative politicians and policymakers given her past ties to this circle. She is most certainly not "every Japanese".

As a general matter, I believe it is possible for non-Japanese to constructively criticise things related to Japan without being anti-Japan. And to do so here. I would venture to say that many of the non-Japanese commenters here likely also criticise things in their home countries, but obviously this is "Japan Today", which means many of the topics will be Japan-centric, by definition.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@zones2surf

Well said.

I tried replying to the 'spaghetti logic' of the Tina Explains It All post, but my eyes started to bleed.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

tinawatanabe: "ReformedBasher, Why should I care what your wife and in-laws think?"

I love how you come on and post numerous emotional comments saying, "You don't care", and then post comments like yesterday where you say, "You don't know how much this hurts the feelings of Japanese!"

"I've never claimed my opinion represent the Japanese."

You CONSTANTLY say, "Japanese this" and "Japanese that", speaking about ALL Japanese people, which is why many criticize your posts saying you should not generalize. That's more fact for you, tina. And this woman is NOT respectable -- she is a very stupid woman with a very twisted and sick world view. She deserves ZERO respect. And stop saying, "She didn't mean that! She was misunderstood!" as all apologists do when a politician (former or current) sticks their foot in their mouth and makes an arse of him/herself.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

@5petals

I am an Asian looking person with a permanent residency, who has been living in the most liberal state of US melting pot over 15 years and people still think I am foreigner

Oh you poor thing! Seems I remember places in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii being almost 100% Asian. Dont want to move? The gov of Washington was Chinese. The SECDEF was a Japanese American. Look at the governers in Guam, Hawaii, youll find most of the time they are Asian. The governer of Lousiana is Indian. You can always move to a more diverse place.

What makes you say I am poor thing? I never felt that way. I don't have infriority complex and people always treat me nice wether they think I am a tourist, immigrant, ex-refugee, exchange student, or citizen.

People don't care about your personal history as much as you think. They would, as you get to know each other. And again, they don't think LESSER of being foreign like you might do. "Foreigner" isn't a discriminatory term or insult. If people don't treat you nice, it's probably because you nitpik every little word and claim you are discriminated against when not. Such a poor way to make friends.

"Are you foreigner?" "No, I'm not." That's all. What's the big deal. Let go. People don't mean anything.

And you don't need to suggest me to move anywhere. I am very happy with my state where everybody comes from every country of the world and mind their own business. Diverse? Sure? Melting pot? Not quite. Koreans live in Korean town. Chinese live in Chinatown. Japanese, while many are short-stay, like to bunch up in certain area, too. Same goes for other race/ethnicity. And you said it in your own comment.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

smithin,In your first comment, you're comparing the two different things.

You CONSTANTLY say, "Japanese this" and "Japanese that"

Everybody says that in JT, you included.

She deserves ZERO respect

from you. What else is new? She is Japanese.

Look, The whole world is criticizing her now. She is an old woman. She is not kind of person who advocates apartheid. She at least wanted to promote immigration in Japan.

-18 ( +0 / -18 )

@tina

If you want to feel better, go to JT Facebook and read comments there. In spite of its lesser anonymity, the discussion is pretty active and healthy and opinions are diverse.

Fresh air for Tina :-)

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

tinawatanabeFeb. 16, 2015 - 05:50PM JST

She said she did not advocate apartheid, which I believe because it is impossible to practice that in Japan which Constition guarantees freedom of moving. So, obviously she meant something else.

tina: This is why you are wrong. She (Sono) should not be advocating apartheid because it's RACIST. Not because the constition guarantees freedom of moving like you say.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Ayako Sono overall strategy goes beyond glorifying the system of apartheid, racial segregation. Ayako Sono fosters alienation and division adopting the politics of fear-mongering to manifest the spectre of mass immigration within Japanese society.

Scrolling down to 51/52... An analysis of statements made by well-know women journalist and writers in Japan within the link below, Sono writes in the magazine "Shincho 45" .....the black neighborhood in South Africa is so filthy and cruel" whereas "Japanese people keep themselves clean even when they are poor".

Sono claims that African people are not yet qualified to have democracy, suggesting Africa remained under colonial rule. The LDP government, fully aware of Ayako Sono extremist views allowed her to continue the influential role as an adviser to the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on education reform. Little wonder South Africa’s ambassador to Japan is harboring seething resentment.

<www.ajwrc.org/english/sub/voice/voice3p46-53.pdf>

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Personally, I've lost all faith in Western reporting of such "outrages", so the first thing I did was try to find the article, which fortunately was within easy searching range.

Now regardless of what you may think of any other statements this Sono may have made, the truth of the matter is that the article itself is not nearly as offensive as is commonly spewed around.

It has two main points, really. One, whether Japan likes it or not, it has a labor problem due to the declining percentage of youth within the population, so it has to accept immigrants in some form.

Subpoint of One is an example using the health care system. She suggests to take care of elderly, they lower the technical and language requirements of elderly-care personnel recruited form overseas, and that a good attitude may be worth more than a good technical + language education. Though she received a lot of flak for Point 1 among Japanese circles, I think this makes sense. There are not enough young Japanese wanting this job, nor are there even foreign input. Well, that means you have to compromise somewhere and she does have a point that Attitude is more important than Technical Training.

There's also some flak about how she specified "young women" from nearby countries (instead of "people", I guess) as the invitees. But let's face it. No matter what Politically Correct language we use, we still think of a woman more than a man when we think of Nurses. Nobody should be flakshot just for not using perfect PC language which is a BS lie anyway.

Now for Two. First, she says there is a need to make Immigrants comply with their legal status and that illegal overstaying must be avoided. She also argues that as long as it is by mutual consent, it is not inhumane. Which seems fair enough.

The second part of two receives most of the flak. Here, it must be said Sono never used the word apartheid. She said "Only when it comes to residental zones do I think it is better for Whites, Blacks and Asians to live separately." She expressly mentions at the end that she feels that it is OK for them to work, research and exercise together, which is not, as I understand, the actual standard in South African apartheid. She doesn't advocate discriminating them, making them wear symbols, banning them from the best schools ... etc.

To support her case, she uses her own experience in South Africa, where the story went that after the rapid dissolution of apartheid controls, Blacks started moving into apartments for Whites. The white apartments were intended for about 4 people, and the blacks cram 30 in the apartment. The blacks wind up collectively using so much water that the water supply went out in the apartment, forcing the whites out.

She receives a lot of flak here, such as this being a 20-30 year old story. However, to do this is to miss the salient point. Different cultures do have different standards and they can sometimes create a burden. Anybody that agrees that the US Marines are a burden on Okinawa (and I know some of you are here today) and should be moved out, for example, is in a weak position to complain. The Marines are the equivalent of people from a different culture, doing things their own way, and arguably creating a significant hindrance on the original inhabitants just by doing so. Their ways and mentalities are not wrong, but they are different, and that's sometimes bad enough.

Though it is the common fashion in the world today to call for "equality", it is true that this call can result in inequality.

In HK, there is a stereotype that Mainlanders are on average of lower cultural standard - one metric being that they are more likely to leave garbage on the street. If you accept this premise, then the question must reasonably be asked as to whether it is right to demand Hong Kong's original inhabitants to tolerate a lower level of average cleanliness in the name of "fairness" to the Mainlanders? We can create hate speech laws so no one slanders them, but that just means the resentment gets bottled in.

And if not, then what are the solutions? Either you stop them from coming in entirely, or you create conditions. Sono in effect argues that Japan cannot stop foreigners from coming in if only as a pragmatic matter, so the solution of creating conditions must be considered. It is actually an interesting idea. Foreigners may actually prefer a situation where a certain number of good-quality blocks is reserved for their residential use at a reasonable price rather than the current situation where things are nominally equal until it comes time to actually find a flat.

The fact of life is, you can't kill discrimination with laws, and sometimes discrimination may even have somewhat legitimate reasons that laws generally turn a blind eye to. What happens, of course, is that they are politely ignored. Sono is saying if that's the case, maybe making a tradeoff of setting explicit limits or guides on one area in exchange for extra, real equality in another area may be the best available solution.

For that, she should not have to receive a communique from South Africa.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Ms. Sono should be sent to South Africa to live in the slums for a while. Only then should anyone, let alone Abe take her suggestions & comments seriously.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ms. Sono should be sent to South Africa to live in the slums for a while. Only then should anyone, let alone Abe take her suggestions & comments seriously.

Why should she? According to her, she has already gone there, and was not impressed:

.....the black neighborhood in South Africa is so filthy and cruel

Which I frankly don't find very objectionable. Can the AJWRC categorically show that Sono cannot possibly have seen this (as in, "She Lied."), or even that it must have been a very unrepresentative neighborhood ("She must be knowingly mislead")?

If not, then Sono is guilty of no more than making a politically incorrect but nevertheless valuable observation.

@itsonlyrocknroll

Sono claims that African people are not yet qualified to have democracy, suggesting Africa remained under colonial rule.

This view would be unpopular. But do consider the number of less than successful states in Africa today, the various civil wars and regional wars there since WWII. Can you be categorically sure that the average African might not be doing somewhat better had they remained a European colony?

I live in Hong Kong, so my experience may be warped, but a colony is not necessarily a bad thing, especially after WWII which brought in a much greater recognition of equality.

@Tahoochi Perhaps you should first actually find the article and read it first, instead of drinking down AFP and Reuters.

Here, my personal copy here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z1TbGkqtLnizoQsqr4lPHiae_CSeV_6h2G9FgDBjWGk/edit#heading=h.mktqsmrvup90

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki

Now regardless of what you may think of any other statements this Sono may have made, the truth of the matter is that the article itself is not nearly as offensive as is commonly spewed around.

The world media and South Africa disagree with you. Japan does not set the international narrative of what is or is not offensive, as much as they would like to.

Kazuaki Shimazaki

The second part of two receives most of the flak. Here, it must be said Sono never used the word apartheid. She said "Only when it comes to residental zones do I think it is better for Whites, Blacks and Asians to live separately."

Afrikaans means "the state of being apart", literally "apart-hood. The smallest of research on your part would have told you that Apartheid's first premise was that determining where or where not people could reside, was the means to ensure Afrikaan economic domination. In theory there was nothing that explicitly stated a black South African could not be a CEO of some multi-national in Pretoria, but by determining the black South African's place of residence, you determined the quality of education and social services that person would receive, and access to quality. At its basis Apartheid was an attempt to stop black South Africans moving to the cities, where educational, wages and social services were better than in the countryside and ensuring that the white Afrikaan farmers had an ample source of cheap labor.

Kazuaki Shimazaki

To support her case, she uses her own experience in South Africa.

She's never lived in South Africa, she's never lived anywhere apart from Japan and as far as I can find, she has never even been there; her whole racist rant seems to be based on hearsay.

I could go on and on with the flaws of your post. Again a little more study on your part would have told you that Hong Kong hostility to mainlanders is nearly exclusively a financial, rather than social, issue of people squabbling over limited resources and go tell a British national of Afro-Carib or South East Asian descent that the race relations acts of 1972 and 1976 did not make a difference to the quality of their lives, and they would laugh in your face.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Racism in Japan is quite common and can be easily experienced if you live and work here for some time and you happen not to be an American or European

Hey, even American's and European's get discriminated against here too. Just about every foreigner who has lived here for any amount of time will have experienced it in one form or another.

What's worse is when people who are supposedly "knowledgeable", or have experience in living and working with foreign people dismiss these charges as being incredulous, or unbelievable, because they can not wrap their heads around the idea that discrimination exists here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiFeb. 17, 2015 - 04:11AM JST

@Tahoochi Perhaps you should first actually find the article and read it first, instead of drinking down AFP and Reuters. Here, my personal copy here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z1TbGkqtLnizoQsqr4lPHiaeCSeV6h2G9FgDBjWGk/edit#heading=h.mktqsm

First of all, your link was no good.

Secondly, are you telling me that Sono's opinion is dependent on what news outlet I read?

You say she makes a "valuable observation" when describing a black neighborhood in South Africa as "filthy and cruel". That's an acceptable observation, but the judgement she passes after that is what is troubling. If she had said: "black neighborhoods in South Africa are filthy and cruel, so we must make sure to compensate immigrants to Japan with equal pay as Japanese workers in return for supporting Japan's workforce and economy.", that would not be racist, and would be the right recommendation based on said observation. Instead, she is essentially saying: "black neighborhoods in South Africa are filthy and cruel, so we must make sure to keep immigrants away from where we live."

But, if that's not the message she is trying to make, then please enlighten me. I only have what the news outlets tell me.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ah, Kazuaki Shimazaki...

a. Tries to explain away any reason to be 'outraged' by the original article.

b. Ends up detailing why a Japanese-style, neo-Apartheid would be a win-win boon for everyone.

Classic! The spin doctors are in full flight today.

Next up: "Why the 2011 tsunami and subsequent Fukushima 'incident' have been good for the people of Tohoku"

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I think it is absolutely amazing that I got thumbs down for explaining the correct meaning of the word 'citizen' in the Japanese constitution when another poster gave a mistaken explanation. What's the deal with that?

Sono is a nut. Fortunately, she is not a member of the present government. There is no defense for her comments. I don't see the government defending her and this is a good thing. It would have been better if Suga clearly stated that Sono's opinions in no way reflect that of the Japanese government nor its people.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki:

I appreciate your comments. I don't agree with them, but you clearly put thought into them and in that sense you contribute to this discussion. I also appreciate them because they, in fact, highlight the underlying danger & issues with Sono's article and the ideas it represents.

As I noted in one of my first posts, there is no question that Japan faces a conundrum on how to deal with a declining and rapidly ageing population, one that policymakers are undoubtedly considering how to address, to include the potential need for more non-Japanese workers.

You are right, Sono is trying to provide her ideas on how to address these issues on an array of fronts. I don't think anyone who has been levelling criticism at her has done so because she attempts to address this rather difficult issue. Some have dismissed her comments as irrational or as the musings of an 80+ year old woman who maybe has lost touch with reality. I, for one, have not. She is a very intelligent woman who has actually given this issues some thought, as misguided and repugnant as some of her ideas may be.

In reviewing the criticism levelled at her and her article, I don't believe anyone has criticised her for the overall framework and content of her comments. They have focused almost exclusively on the idea/comment that the apartheid regime in South Africa is one potentially worthy of being emulated or copied in some way in Japan.

The invoking of the South Africa apartheid system in any respect as a potential model to be emulated in japan is an affront to the people of South Africa, particularly those that suffered under this system. That is the source of the outrage. This is more than just a case of her being non-PC. It is that she actually believes that there are merits to the South Africa apartheid system, ones that could be borrowed and used in Japan.

What is as concerning to me as Sono's article and her views is that her views and ideas are likely shared by some in the conservative circles to which she belongs. These are ideas that have likely been discussed in private and I am pretty sure that she would not have published this column with these comments if she did not feel confident that those around her would be sympathetic to her ideas.

You are attempting to defend Sono's comments, either because you are sympathetic to her ideas or because you think she has been unfairly targeted for her comments and/or been misunderstood. In either case, this is cause for concern. Either you do not appreciate just how repugnant the idea of seeing merits in the South Africa apartheid system is, or you actually think she may be right, that perhaps it is something to be emulated in some form/fashion.

To be clear, yes, Japan has an issue/problem that it has to deal with and I give Sono credit for attempting to provide her ideas. However, to promote a solution that in any way promotes inequality has no place in the 21st century. And, as much as Sono and others protest otherwise, what she is suggesting is a "separate but equal" system, which was at the heart of segregation policies in the southern U.S.

As importantly, what she is effectively saying is that there are issues in Japanese society that may make it difficult for non-Japanese to come and work and live in Japan. Thus, the problem is not with the non-Japanese that come, the problem is with Japanese society. Well, if that is the case, the solution is with addressing those problems.

Laws against discrimination in housing absolutely can and do work if enforced. Additionally, there are any number of mechanisms the government can use to facilitate the increase in non-Japanese that they believe might be necessary. This may even include the Japanese government providing guarantor services, building public housing that would be available to ALL residents, to include non-Japanese, etc.

What, ultimately, is not acceptable is holding up a discredited, reprehensible discriminatory system from the past as one potentially to be emulated and/or has having merits that should be considered. Particularly if the drivers behind suggesting this system are inherent issues within Japanese society itself.

Ultimately, Sono's comments have to be viewed in the context of her world view and her view of Japan. Her work on the reform commission in 2001 indicates that she is a strong supporter of restoring true Japan and pride in being Japanese. I believe that Sono, like many conservatives, believes in the uniqueness of Japan and the Japanese people. As such, the idea of a large influx in non-Japanese is one that I believe leaves people like Sono very uneasy. In their eyes, it may be a necessary evil, but certainly something that needs to be managed lest it ultimately change Japan.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@slumdog

I think it is absolutely amazing that I got thumbs down for explaining the correct meaning of the word 'citizen' in the Japanese constitution when another poster gave a mistaken explanation. What's the deal with that?

People 'vote' based on their visceral reactions to what you have posted, not if it is correct or not.

Q. Do they like what you normally post? A. They vote according to posting history and how they feel about you as a poster.

Q. Do they like what you have posted in this particular instance? A. They vote according to how your current post sits with their current views.

'Facts,' per se, don't necessarily enter into voting considerations here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I will pardon you, as a Japanese,on your inability to comprehend the fundamental cause of ethnic wars in Africa.Why? Because most seemingly educated Japanese I have met do not seem to even know basic information on Asia not to talk about global issues.However,let me highlight a few points.

1.At independence, Colonial rule in Africa had left a huge illetracy rate.Why? Because only the select few and their dependents who sided with the colonists where allowed acces to eductaion .

2.The Colonists in Independence ,in most cases,left governence to ethnic groups who were close to them.These ethnic groups were mostly the minority in these countries.Thus,inorder to stregthen their control,they stiffled democracy and turned to dictators which obviously did not go well with the majority group.

These 2 main points are the causes of ethnic wars in Africa.You sem not to know Africa history.But ,take a time and read the trade and eductation that was in western and Northern part of present Africa before colonialisation. I am not saying,the present African situation is only as a result of colonialism.

On South Africa,do you think a genaration that has gone through this apartheid system and its consequent poverty would be able to live in clean environment with all the basic amenities in a go?

However to use a Hongkong as a model in support of colonialism is in itself wrong.Because,you seem not to know the history of Hongkong.It is this same thought ,you Japanese,have used to justify your activities in taiwan etc.

I bet the Americans should have colonized you .Then,you would have understood these issues.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@yubaru: Racism in Japan is quite common and can be easily experienced if you live and work here for some time and you happen not to be an American or European Hey, even American's and European's get discriminated against here too. Just about every foreigner who has lived here for any amount of time will have experienced it in one form or another.

Racial discrimination, terrible as it is, is part of the modern world. It seems that if you have chosen to live in a foreign country, sooner or later you experience it in one form or another. WTH, you can experience it even in your native country. The fact that you and many of the posters above (including me) have chosen to live in Japan shows though that as much as we detest it racial discrimination has not been so bad as to deter us from living in the country. Steps can be made to improve the situation though. I also firmly believe that bashing the local customs and traditions is not the way and will never help to get better acceptance by the locals.

@5petals: Sorry if I have come across as a Japan basher.

I never said you were. You yourself came up with the term.

I am not.

Really? Trying to impress on others how terrible, deceitful, unhuman the modern Japanese are by making mental connections between the past of Japan and the present-day Japanese. Producing anecdotal evidence of your terrible experiences in the country. Hmm… Well, the best word for this may not be bashing, indeed. I will leave it to you to come up with the best expression.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

blvtzpk,

Food for thought. Thank you for your comment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Racial discrimination, terrible as it is, is part of the modern world. It seems that if you have chosen to live in a foreign country, sooner or later you experience it in one form or another.

This is true, but Japan on the other hand has no law banning it. There are no punishments for those cafes, restaurants and businesses who refuse to serve foreigners, often claiming they are "fully booked".

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

There are no punishments for those cafes, restaurants and businesses who refuse to serve foreigners

That's not true. If the place is deemed to serve the general public (公共的役割), then the business can be sued in court. If a restaurant bans smokers, if a hot stone spa establishment bans men, if an upscale restaurant bans kids, if a pub bans "first time customers," they will not be sued. If a public bathhouse bans foreigners, they can be taken to court and held responsible for their actions. Some private establishments are free to choose their clientele, but they also put themselves at risk to be bashed by some for doing so.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If the place is deemed to serve the general public (公共的役割), then the business can be sued in court.

Really? Why are there still "Japanese only" signs up in some places? We shall agree to disagree on this one http://japanfocus.org/-The_Asahi_Shimbun_Culture_Research_Center-/2932

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Christopher,

Are you aware of how old that link is?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

slumdog,

Are you aware of how old that link is?

Indeed. While self-hating kokumin, Dave Aldwinckle has raised awareness of discrimination issues here, his (seeming) zeal in spotting every | single | mote in his neighbour's eye, fatigues most of us with ties here beyond the superficial.

That said, though, has the situation improved?

I fear that Ayako Sono and her apologists would rather it hasn't.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That said, though, has the situation improved?

I don't know for sure. Sono is a nut and there will always be nuts. These kinds of nuts are the exception rather than the rule. How many people around you do you know that would voice such opinions? I personally know no one.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Are you aware of how old that link is?

Do you think attitudes have automatically changed? If so please show me a link where foreigners can go anywhere they choose. Because I assure you there are still plenty of bars and clubs that won't admit them. And therein, you have the kind of sentiment that led Sono to write what she did

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@zones2surf Thank you for your views.

I do actually agree that Sono, at least on the residential front, is arguing for a separate but equal system. I object to the use of apartheid because while Sono's suggestion may meet its technical definition, it is a very loaded word. Its very mention causes the mind to automatically load up various inequalities ... etc, none of which were advocated by Sono in her text.

A honest appraisal of what Sono or anyone else wrote should be based on her text, not her text plus whatever got auto-loaded when the word "apartheid" got mentioned (to be fair, Sono did herself no favors on this score by using examples from South Africa).

The main criticism of "separate but equal" is that the latter part often doesn't work out, either by accident or exploitation. That is a legitimate concern for any future "separate but equal" plans. However, it doesn't mean anybody advocating separatism has a sneak intent for inequality. Further, certain separate but equal plans are widely accepted and work out - just look at public toilets, and in Japan, women-only train cars. And of course, there are still women's only colleges. So it may not be such a hopeless cause.

I would also point out that to some extent, people segregate themselves anyway. In the States, for example, AFAIK there are areas with high proportions of blacks (there's a correlation with those being relatively shabby areas).

It must also be pointed out Sono explicitly mentions that she's all fine with people working, researching and exercise (and everything else) together, which presumably means the same schools (what are schools but places for working, researching and exercising) and health facitlities. So already, one big hallmark of apartheid - blacks living in tenth rate places receiving a tenth rate education which in turn leads to a tenth-rate career, is clearly contradicted. As it is, the fact they are to work, research and exercise together already places practical limitations on how isolated this hypothetical Immigrant Area can be - who wants to stick the foreigners out in the boonies and then cart them for several hours by bus to work every morning?

In short, while the word apartheid is autoloading pictures of African slums, Jewish ghettoes ... etc into most people's minds and generating proper visceral reactions, I see the text as at least allowing a much more benign interpretation.

It may mean no more than a special suburb (close enough to the "regular" suburbs to allow the shared use of facilities), or even certain apartment blocks reserved. Sono's text should be evaluated in such a light, rather than automatically leaping to the worst conclusions and debating from there.

Laws against discrimination in housing absolutely can and do work if enforced.

In my experience, discrimination laws do not work for similar reasons whistleblower laws don't. There are too many legitimate-sounding reasons to do so anyway. For example, anti-discrimination laws in HK don't allow our company to hire salesladies, only salespeople. Well, guess what, we hire salesladies anyway. Of course, we don't mandate gender on our ads, but as a practical matter, I don't remember a single male even trying out. Should a male break the social taboo, well, the personnel department can always find something during the interview to quietly disqualify him. Speaking for myself, I prefer more honesty.

They are only effective and worth it for what by modern standards will be extremely blatant discrimination. For example, if you aren't even allowed on public transit, an anti-discrimination law would help you. Beyond that, they are increasingly ineffective and have increasingly great social costs.

For example, for the rental problem, it may be possible to make an anti-discrimination law effective by jacking up its sensitivity (in wording, interpretation and execution) until in practice any foreigner who can pay the rent can successfully appeal the failure to pick him. However, this effectively is reverse discrimination because it gives foreigners a great weapon that normal Japanese (who undoubtedly also have cases where they are not "picked") don't. People may favor foreigners at the expense of Japanese even if conditions are otherwise the same, simply because if he refuses the foreigner, the foreigner may use the anti-discrimination law against him.

Reverse discrimination, or even the perception of such, creates resentment in the majority. This is in itself a negative that must be considered, but it also blowbacks on the "discriminated". Consider the anti-Zainichi protests. Any personal feelings against Koreans aside, a great congealing point is their special rights. The special rights may be real or merely perceived, useful or non-useful, but the Koreans pay a price for them. A hate speech law, inherent costs aside, would just drive it underground and have it manifest in ever more sinister ways (that's why I've never supported them).

This may even include the Japanese government providing guarantor services, building public housing that would be available to ALL residents, to include non-Japanese, etc

Guess what, Sono's idea as written (as opposed to after AFP added its imagination) does not exclude this kind of possibility. Indeed, while the Constitution technically says rights are for Nationals, the courts have agreed that except for portions "clearly pertaining only to Nationals", the rights are for everyone else too. Further, while Japanese may not be too comfortable arond foreigners, their zeitgeist is way beyond the point where they'd agree to hard out shafts like shoving people into ghettos (Sono's article got a lot of flak in Japan too).

Under the circumstances, it would actually be rather hard for Japan's government to actually lay down a hard law forbidding foreigners even if they want to run the international flak. Given this, the only thing the Japanese can do to implement Sono's plan in some form is to entice people, so at least most foreigners will congregate around the planned zones. One way to do that is to provide guarantor services and cheap / free housing, BUT only in certain zones. If the zones are relatively decent and cheap, and housing is really as hard to get in Japan as certain foreigners whine, this plan should work.

Finally, personally I believe while people can be evaluated through their various works over time, works themselves should be assessed individually without excessive reference to other works. So if Sono runs for Diet member I may vote her down based on a dangerous possibility running among her essays even if each individually can be given a positive interpretation. However, for each essay I won't care as to what her other essays say.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Ayako Sono is clever, exceptionally cunning and above all a crafty political operator. A gifted author, mischievous and manipulative, processing a zen-like sense of timing to maximize the impact of the column published on Wednesday in the Sankei Shimbun to coincide and essentially hijack the LDP $500m global PR campaign.

Ayako Sono aims to galvanize support of a extreme right agenda within the LDP government. Ayako Sono 83 years has been spent honing an extreme brand of conservative Catholicism, ever present and afforded a section entitled Catholic intellectuals in: Popes, Bishops and War Criminals: reflections on Catholics and Yasukuni in post-war Japan.

http://japanfocus.org/-John-Breen/3312

The LDP government is riddled with a parasitic and poisonous right wing fissure, that's contradicts today's diverse and modern Japanese society. Only a complete and thorough purge of this caustic element festering within government will deliver the changes necessary counter the hegemony from the Government of China.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Gary Raynor FEB. 17, 2015 - 07:12AM JST

The world media and South Africa disagree with you.

I agree that Japan does not set the international narrative as to what is not offensive. On the other hand, this is in a paper never really meant for international consumption, so in effect the world is pressuring Japan to shut up even in the confines of her home.

More importantly, while I respect the West's right to have an opinion on what Sono said, I believe it is important to base whatever opinion you form on what Sono actually said, rather than a summarized version written in the most loaded terms. If a newspaper can't provide an accurate, unbiased summary on something like this, or the nature of the text denies such an opportunity, they have a moral responsibility to not report it at all. This is not urgent news, but more of a paparazzi level - the least we can expect is that any report would be fair.

Afrikaans means "the state of being apart", literally "apart-hood. The smallest of research on your part would have told you that Apartheid's first premise was that determining where or where not people could reside, was the means to ensure Afrikaan economic domination.

All right, but can you actually read the article? If yes, can you point to me the specific passages that say Sono advocates our residentally segregated immigrants to be only allowed access to 3rd rate schools, clinics, or that only 3rd rate facilities be provided where they live? As you effectively admitted, the idea of segregated living quarters is not really so horrible - that the facilities in such are third rate is.

If not, you have to take my word for it that no such passage exists. In fact, she explicitly says they should be allowed to work together and do ressearch together, which implies that at the very least, they should be going to the same schools. As such, if we must use the word "apartheid", it seems intended to be quite a different apartheid from the actuality of South African apartheid.

This is why I have lost faith in Western media on this topic. When I actually find the article they are attacking, I find the passages technically exist (you can't say they are lying), but they are taken out of context and given their worst interpretations. Based on this twisted version, the West ends up wondering why the Japanese can tolerate such passages while the Japanese, being able to actually read the thing may not agree with the article but will similarly express puzzlement at the rage the West fuzzes, not realizing that a controversial article has been purified into Mein Kampf by Western media.

She's never lived in South Africa, she's never lived anywhere apart from Japan and as far as I can find, she has never even been there; her whole racist rant seems to be based on hearsay.

That's interesting. In her article, she implies she was at least briefly in SA (though I'll grant that it was done in a way that if incontrovertible proof was provided otherwise, she can say technically she never said that). Can you actually demonstrate this?

But hearsay or not, do you wish to contend that the scenario that she portrayed never happened? That's a high card.

I could go on and on with the flaws of your post. Again a little more study on your part would have told you that Hong Kong hostility to mainlanders is nearly exclusively a financial, rather than social, issue of people squabbling over limited resources and go tell a British national of Afro-Carib or South East Asian descent that the race relations acts of 1972 and 1976 did not make a difference to the quality of their lives, and they would laugh in your face.

Give me a little credit. I actually live in Hong Kong, so while they are a financial burden, the social and cultural aspects should not be ignored as well.

Also, I did not say that anti-discrimination laws are completely ineffective. See my thoughts on them in previous post.

@TahoochiFEB. 17, 2015 - 07:51AM JST

First of all, your link was no good.

Yes, I noticed JapanToday clipped my link at the end and cut out some underscores. Plan B - use this as a search string to find other reprints on the web.

一方で、若い世代の人口比率が減るばかりの日本では、労働力の補充のためにも

Secondly, are you telling me that Sono's opinion is dependent on what news outlet I read?

No, your understanding of Sono's opinion may vary. I don't mind the West having a negative opinion so much as I mind most of them forming that opinion based on a very narrow, worst case interpretation that AFP seems to like so much. If you read the whole thing, understand it, and keep the same opinion, I respect that.

You say she makes a "valuable observation" when describing a black neighborhood in South Africa as "filthy and cruel". That's an acceptable observation, but the judgement she passes after that is what is troubling. [...] Instead, she is essentially saying: "black neighborhoods in South Africa are filthy and cruel, so we must make sure to keep immigrants away from where we live."

Actually, the "black neighborhood in SA are filthy and cruel" is from another article, one with about two lines extracted by the AJWRC as evidence for a critical article (for this reason I with-hold my final judgment pending my ability to read the whole article). The example she actually used in the article under fire is different (read my first comment on thread).

But anyway, here's where we may have to disagree. If you accept that African black communities are filthy and cruel as a premise, and keeping clean is independent of wealth, when bringing them in you can (separate from the issue of pay) make a decision of whether to segregate them or not. If you choose not to segregate them, then you are accepting a solution where the existing inhabitants would likely suffer a lower standard of overalll cleanliness and order. In short, you are asking the majority to suffer for the minority.

One can of course make a case for this anyway, and depending on the extent of sacrifice I may even be inclined to take your side. But to say we cannot admit of such factors is fundamentalist, that we can admit them but must always choose the non-racist approach regardless of cost is biased (and will breed silent resentment in the majority), and to pretend such factors don't exist is the epitome of intellecual dishonesty.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

How many people around you do you know that would voice such opinions?

How many people voice opinions period?

TIJ, SD. We don't upset the Wa.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

OK, Part 3

samsarksFEB. 17, 2015 - 10:07AM JST

I will pardon you, as a Japanese,on your inability to comprehend the fundamental cause of ethnic wars in Africa.

Actually I live in Hong Kong, which as you know may be in the top 10 in terms of successful colonies and showing a colony can be benign. I suspect a lot of us quietly prefer to return to being a Brit colony these days. But I'll admit African history is not my specialty, so let's see your view.

1.huge illetracy rate

This is written in such a way to suggest that had Africa not been colonized, they would have had a high literacy rate. That is a hard sell. They weren't colonized because they were strong well-educated people, you know. Frankly, their pre-colonial existences suggest that had they not been colonized, the literacy rate is likely to be lower.

2.The Colonists in Independence

In other words, regardless of whether you blame the colonists for this, the actual situation when the Colonists left is such that the natives may well be better off under colonialism.

But ,take a time and read the trade and eductation that was in western and Northern part of present Africa before colonialisation.

That they may have trade or education does not equate a generally high-standard of living or literacy.

On South Africa,do you think a genaration that has gone through this apartheid system and its consequent poverty would be able to live in clean environment with all the basic amenities in a go?

You are making excuses for them, but nevertheless, the point that is being made is that the end of the apartheid policy has led to hardship for whites due to cultural (or education) differences. In the case of SA apartheid, we can kind of make a case that having monopolized most of South Africa's wealth and power at the expense of the blacks for so long, the whites being penalized may be somewhat justifiable or acceptable price to pay. Indeed, even in say America, continued support for affirmative action is partially due to a "payback" mentality. Japan would not have such a debt to any immigrants.

However to use a Hongkong as a model in support of colonialism is in itself wrong.Because,you seem not to know the history of Hongkong.It is this same thought ,you Japanese,have used to justify your activities in taiwan etc.

I do see Hong Kong as an example of how colonialism can be relatively benign. Regardless of the details of the political history, one thing is clear - when we are about to stop being a colony, people actually fled of their own volition.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

tinawatanabe: "Look, The whole world is criticizing her now. She is an old woman. She is not kind of person who advocates apartheid."

Excuse me, but she flat out said she advocates apartheid as an ideal system for Japan, and people have proven that despite you saying she did not advocate it before and making up excuses for her. And it's not just me saying that, it's the world. You don't like it and have tried to say "she didn't mean it! (later adding 'probably' to the end of your sentence because you have no idea)". And no, she does not deserve any respect not because she is Japanese, but because she is absolute scum and a racist. If you want to respect the woman, go ahead, but don't go crying about how you've been 'misunderstood' for supporting such a woman's view.

Shame on anyone who supports this kind of racism and idealizes the suffering of others.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiFeb. 17, 2015 - 06:24PM JST

I agree that Japan does not set the international narrative as to what is not offensive. On the other hand, this is in a paper never really meant for international consumption, so in effect the world is pressuring Japan to shut up even in the confines of her home.

Come on!!!! so it's OK if some Vietnamese newspaper says that Chinese are vermin, Vietnamese history proves it, and they should be exterminated, as long as it is written in Vietnamese and in some publication that is not for international consumption.

Kazuaki ShimazakiFeb. 17, 2015 - 06:24PM JST

All right, but can you actually read the article? If yes, can you point to me the specific passages that say Sono advocates our residentally segregated immigrants to be only allowed access to 3rd rate schools, clinics, or that only 3rd rate facilities be provided where they live?

Again, if I write that all Jews should be enslaved, am I not promoting the enslavement of children, even though I don't explicitly mention the actual act of making child slavery? An action has a consequence and an injustice has a cause.

Common sense dictates that Sono's opinions, if acted upon, would lead to an underclass of foreign nationals who are, even though they pay their taxes, the same as the indigenes (remember this is a big difference between the middle-east. Salaries for foreign nationals are usually tax-free), have access to only third rate public facilities relative to rest of Japanese society. Public facilities which are equally financed by their taxes

Unfortunately common sense is lacking in your reasoning and the Sankei Shimbun who printed this offensive article,

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How many people voice opinions period?

TIJ, SD. We don't upset the Wa.

Many, many do. Lots of the stupider ones get reported here on JT. No one around you voices any opinons? Wow. How sad.

Do you think attitudes have automatically changed?

Since 2008? Yes, I do.

If so please show me a link where foreigners can go anywhere they choose.

? I never ever said things were perfect here. There are private clubs that choose their clientele based on whatever standards they choose in many western countries as well. What specific places are you talking about?

Because I assure you there are still plenty of bars and clubs that won't admit them.

Hmmm...what kind of bars and clubs are you talking about exactly? Have you tried to sue them? Has anyone? If their policy is not tested, how do you know how society feels about some small hole in the wall that most people wouldn't touch with a ten meter pole?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm sorry, but parsing the text to the 'nth' degree, massaging the column as if it was a tough old piece of meat in the hope of making it tender enough for public consumption, simply indicates the moral and intellectual poverty of the original piece of writing.

As I noted earlier, when the WSJ asked her to comment on the piece, rather than attempting to explain it, she refused to discuss the column, simply stating "that piece doesn't have any errors." She seems happy to have the firestorm about it rage rather than offer any clarification.

Given her unwillingness to respond, I question others who feel it needs to be 'explained' or 'clarified' to readers. She certainly doesn't. She seems to think it stands by itself, and she's now reaping the reward for that arrogance.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Since 2008? Yes, I do.

Well shall have to agree to disagree. And why that particular year? http://www.yutaaoki.com/blog/racism-in-japan-some-other-aspects

She seems to think it stands by itself, and she's now reaping the reward for that arrogance.

I couldn't agree more

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You should read the Japanese original not translation versions. When you criticize others, you have to be more careful

If she really meant apartheid, how do you suppose foreigners would come to Japan? You should think about that. What most of you are doing is bullying her.

Thank you, NYtoday.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

And why that particular year?

That was the date of the posting of the article. Actually, much of what was mentioned there was much earlier than that. Were you not familiar with whose work you were posting?

I read a bit of your latest link and I have absolutely no doubt that such racism exists. I also know many, many non-Japanese who have rented apartments quite easily in Japan. So, I think it is wrong to suggest all Japanese are racist or that even most are.

Back to the moron who is the subject of this article. She does not represent this country. She is a dinosaur.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If she really meant apartheid, how do you suppose foreigners would come to Japan?

? Foreigners went to and lived in South Africa during apartheid. Ghandi lived there. He was an ex-patriot lawyer and the experience of living under apartheid had a profound effect on him.

Praising racial segregation of any kind is abhorrent.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiFeb. 17, 2015 - 06:24PM JST

use this as a search string to find other reprints on the web.

OK, I've read the actual article in question (Japanese version), and my opinion is still the same. Basically, Sono is saying that it's too difficult to understand other culttures, so we should live separately. To give up on trying to understand another culture is one thing, but to tell a person where they can and cannot live is ludicrous and a violation of human rights, regardless of whatever "inconveniences" may unintentionally occur.

In her article, Sono talks about multiple black families living (20 to 30 people) in one apartment and using up all of the water in the building to point where other white families had no running water. Do you honestly believe something like this would happen in Japan??? Something as simple as a lease agreement would control something like this, not to mention building/fire codes. Sono is trying to look smart and "ahead of the game" by comparing apples to oranges. And btw, please shorten your posts; they are way too long.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In her article, Sono talks about multiple black families living (20 to 30 people) in one apartment and using up all of the water in the building to point where other white families had no running water. Do you honestly believe something like this would happen in Japan???

I honestly do not believe it would happen anywhere.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That is not to say Japanese are racist. That perhaps Japan in its entirety isn’t ready to open up its borders. While large cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Sapporo continue to familiarize themselves with a foreign presence, it will take some years yet before this foreign presence becomes commonplace for those Japanese from less-populated, less urban areas. But so, too, must the standard of the immigrant. If you want to go and work somewhere like Japan, you need to know the language and culture, at least to a liveable level. Look at England, their borders were a bit too open for a bit too long, and now the most common piece of anti-immigration hate you hear touted daily by news sources is the horrid “they come here, take our jobs, and can’t even speak a bloody word of English”.

It does take a government’s resources to essentially train a foreigner how to exist within society. But this idea, that immigrants are “uncultured, illiterate”, that pervades the common Japanese mindset, because this foundation hasn’t been addressed, this unfortunate idea of what an immigrant is in Japan continues to circulate. This all adds to the negative impression of the foreigner. The general perception of immigration within Japan is changing. However, it’s up to those that want to move in to change as well.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kazuki Shimazaki From your point:

*This is written in such a way to suggest that had Africa not been colonized, they would have had a high literacy rate. That is a hard sell. They weren't colonized because they were strong well-educated people, you know. Frankly, their pre-colonial existences suggest that had they not been colonized, the literacy rate is likely to be lower.

*

First,let me inform you that there is a difference between education and schooling.Educaton is a life long process where values,knowledge and skills are instilled in the young by the elderly which entails several social agencies not only schooling.To think they were not educated because there were no formal schools is ignorance. What we refer to literacy now,at least in Africa then and now, is the abiity to read and write English which the colonialists pursued inorder for propagate Christianity.Many African countries had their ways of writing even b4 the colonial period.Maybe,if they had pursued it, literacy (at least,in the traditonal meaning of literacy) would be higher.

Yes,on South Africa,the end of aparthied has caused hardship,unfortunately for the whites.Which I think the Government there should address it.sometimes ,trying to correct years of disparities will cause problems.

But anyway, here's where we may have to disagree. If you accept that African black communities are filthy and cruel as a premise, and keeping clean is independent of wealth... >

This is where you are wrong again.I guess you have not been to south Africa.You will understand that,there is a high correlation between wealth and cleanliness.What causes this uncleanliness in their neigborhood?Years of neglect in basic social services like water,toilets etc.

Anyway,why use apartheid to buttress your ideas on immigration or better still segregation.Eventhough,as we all know,the current immigration been considered is geared towards Asians(Phillipinos,SE)?.OR from her analyses,these folks are not Asians?if they are,then this editorail she wrote is useless.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sneetches_and_Other_Stories#.22The_Sneetches.22

The first story in the collection tells of a group of yellow creatures called Sneetches, some of whom have a green star on their bellies. At the beginning of the story, Sneetches with stars discriminate against and shun those without. A mischievously scheming "fix-it-up chappie" named Sylvester McMonkey McBean appears and offers the Sneetches without stars the chance to have them with his Star-On machine, for three dollars. The treatment is instantly popular, but this upsets the original star-bellied Sneetches, as they are in danger of losing their special status. McBean then tells them about his Star-Off machine, costing ten dollars, and the Sneetches who originally had stars happily pay the money to have them removed in order to remain special. However, McBean does not share the prejudices of the Sneetches, and allows the recently starred Sneetches through this machine as well. Ultimately this escalates, with the Sneetches running from one machine to the next….

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If Japan wants to solve the aging population issue they need to have workers working less hours, that's the silver bullet at far as I'm concerned. Nobody is starting a family when their life consists of working and then passing out for a few hours of sleep. Japan doesn't need or want a flood of unskilled immigration from poor countries (which seems to be what we are talking about as educationed people from first world countries don't seem to have a terribly difficult time immigrating to Japan if they choose to do so) it just needs a less overworked population.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@smithinjapanFEB. 17, 2015 - 06:58PM JST

she flat out said she advocates apartheid as an ideal system for Japan

As a basis for debate, please quote exactly where she said that. The article is easy enough to find on the Internet - I even give a suitable search string in one of my comments here. If you are just going off what other people said ... well, at least be honest.

Because you know what? The word "ideal" simply does not appear in the article. "Better" does, but that's far from the same thing. You can argue her statements of "Only in the problem of residence, blah blah blah" meet the technical definition of apartheid, but when it comes to meeting the mental image of apartheid, you'll still fall far short because she explicitly says they should work, research, exercise and do everything else together (as I understand it, that's not how South African apartheid worked).

@Gary RaynorFEB. 17, 2015 - 06:59PM JST

Come on!!!! so it's OK if some Vietnamese newspaper says that Chinese are vermin, Vietnamese history proves it, and they should be exterminated, as long as it is written in Vietnamese and in some publication that is not for international consumption.

First, do recognize you've seriously upped the scenario to try and push your point. Nevertheless, even in such a case, my vote will still be no. Maybe if every newspaper says it, but at this point, it just creates a disproportionately negative impression of Vietnamese, when it is possible the worst that can be said of all this is that the Vietnamese place a great premium on free speech (even distasteful) than political correctness, at least on this vector.

My vote trends further to the "No" if AFP's current handling of Sono's article is indicative of Western media's accuracy. If I can ever read your hypothetical article in Vietnamese, "vermin" might have been "socially undesirable", "Vietnamese history" might have been crime statistics showing a particularly high crime rate for Chinese or several major riots causing massive damage by Chinese. "Exterminate" might have been "These troublemakers must be exterminated" rather than a statement to kill all Chinese.

An action has a consequence and an injustice has a cause.

Yes, but not every consequence is inevitable.

access to only third rate public facilities relative to rest of Japanese society. Public facilities which are equally financed by their taxes

Interesting point re ME, I learned something. To the meat, first, I'll grant that you have a legitimate concern. However, a legitimate concern is not a certainty. Indeed, we already have a lot of 'separate but equals" - toilets, sports clubs, even some schools and dorms between the genders.

Indeed, the article explicitly refutes this intent with its end statement that it is OK for people to work, research and exercise (and everything else) together. Sono's statement also says "Only in residence...", which implies that everything else should be integrated. You'll know this if you either read the article or even my summary of such.

Unfortunately common sense is lacking in your reasoning and the Sankei Shimbun who printed this offensive article,

OK, I'm beginning to see the problem. Westerners upon reading that article automatically use their recognitional heuristics, come to hasty conclusions, stop analyzing any further possibilities, and insist in calling their sense "common". Japanese analyze the article, and are able to both see the Western concern and other variants :-)

@blvtzpkFEB. 17, 2015 - 08:01PM JST

I'm sorry, but parsing the text to the 'nth' degree, massaging the column as if it was a tough old piece of meat in the hope of making it tender enough for public consumption, simply indicates the moral and intellectual poverty of the original piece of writing.

blvtzpk, you seem to be assuming people like me read the article, was stunned, and tried to rationalize. For me at least, it is closer to the inverse. I read the Western summaries, agreed that it would be something of a problem if true and undistorted, and dug all around until I can find the article (which in itself shows how far Western media had fallen).

On actually reading it, I see an interesting if controversial proposal (in essence, I categorize it as a "separate but equal" scheme, and only on a single problem - though residence is big), that given the provided premises has some validity (of course, I cannot assess conditions in South Africa). Comparing it with my mental image of "apartheid", I fail to see the link. After more poking around, I got to "OK, I can see how it meets the technical definition, but that's it." I had to rationalize to include your negative impression as valid, not the inverse. And my most visceral feeling was annoyance that AFP, Reuters and some others chose apartheid to blow the thing up as bigger than it really is.

"that piece doesn't have any errors."

I guess WSJ is at least trying to pretend to be neutral, but to the issue - why don't you point out some errors she might want to correct? There are about two facts alleged in that article. 1) Lots of grandsons/daughters take care of their grandparents without special knowledge. 2) The story about the Africans. The rest are opinions and conclusions from these two facts. Do you wish to contest the facts provided?

@TahoochiFEB. 18, 2015 - 06:31AM JST

OK, I've read the actual article in question (Japanese version), and my opinion is still the same.

Thank you for making the extra effort. Fair enough.

Something as simple as a lease agreement would control something like this, not to mention building/fire codes.

Have you considered that in Sono's scenario such a lease agreement can be legally challenged on discrimination grounds? If we grant that Blacks have a tendency to want to cram 30 people in the same apartment, a building code that bans them from doing so will be almost as segregative as a flat out ban, since they won't want to come in under such conditions.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki.

Sono contradicts herself and she makes no sense to some of us.

lets digest her thoughts. She argues that Black neighborhoods in S/Africa are dirty and cruel.And from her analysis of the aparthied ,Blacks ,Whites and Asians should live sepreately.In other words,their culture is different.

My question is ,India has over 600million people without toilets and who defeacate in open spaces.I have been to India and some South East Asian countries and I can categorically say the level of filth there is nothing to write home about.

So my point is ,if you use the filth and situation in a country as a basis for race segregation.Are Indians and other people in South East Asia not Asians? Are their culture not different from Japanese as a whole?Again,the immigrants we are talking about are Asians.I have not heard of any Government policy on trying to bring Africans here.

In sum,she makes no sense unless she thought blacks were an easy pick to advance her agenda.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

She argues that Black neighborhoods in S/Africa are dirty and cruel.

No, she didn't. Read the Japanese version below.

http://www.google.co.jp/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCsQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzznews.jp%2F%3Fp%3D1036768&ei=NYPkVKbTIIHTmAX65ICgCw&usg=AFQjCNFUrgi4I3_rN2fN4qnmC0Lipi6CvQ&sig2=PQOnF58cW1rg2CxJ5y3iUg&bvm=bv.85970519,d.dGY

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

Thanks for your response.

you seem to be assuming people like me read the article, was stunned, and tried to rationalize.

Not necessarily...some people who have responded did not seem stunned at all, but were certainly there to explain away and/or rationalize.

While you might have been processing the text for an audience, I still wonder why someone like yourself has to take that role when the original author was given the chance to by the WSJ, but refused. Why should you do the author's work (and that is her chosen profession) and respond? She is apparently more than capable of the task, and in her place interlocutors (such as yourself) are inevitably casting their own interpretations on what she wrote (a point you clearly believe that the Western media is doing) and what she is (and is not) supposed to be inferring in her piece. Why should you have to do the 'heavy lifting' of such a lengthy deconstruction when she is completely unprepared to do so? Having given a response to the WSJ most likely would have settled many of the "So, what did she really mean?" questions that are floating about. My feeling is that she is relishing the fact that the column has caused controversy. If she did not wish her work to be misinterpreted and cause so such upset, she could have cleared that up, but she did not. And, in her place, white knights are rallying to defend her honor and integrity. To state that rationalization might bleed into these counter-interpretations and defenses is not out of the question.

In any respect, I'll take your word that your attitude/approach was actually 'inverse' (as you put it). Nevertheless, one does tire of old chestnut of "Let me explain it to you like a 6 year old" approach trotted out by those who feel that 'foreigners just don't get Japan and the Japanese,' a well-used defensive maneuver in discussions of this sort. Constantly playing the 'No, that's not what he/she said/meant' card gets old quickly, just as you no doubt feel the 'western outrage' card gets played to often. That the tendency to defend a speaker or writer is often the first approach taken in matters like these doesn't do anyone any favors. Just look at one poster's rantings - a kneejerk, almost hysterical defensive position taken simply because the person at the center of the issue is Japanese and their honor needs to be protected at all costs.

As for the comment about "that piece doesn't have any errors," it is apparently her response to an inquiry from the WSJ. Let me cite it again for your benefit:

Ms. Sono told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that she wouldn't discuss the column. "If there is an error in the article, I would correct it. I am a human and I make errors. But that piece doesn't have any errors," she said.

Reading the passage one can assume (dare I?) that the WSJ contacted her for comment (I don't see her calling them). From what they report, she told them "she wouldn't discuss the column."

The next statement is """If there is an error in the article, I would correct it. I am a human and I make errors. But that piece doesn't have any errors," she said."

But this is not what the WSJ appears to have asked her. There's no suggestion that the WSJ implied the column contained errors - and neither did I. She's the one who's raising 'errors.' They asked her for to comment, and she tells them the article doesn't contain 'errors.' And 'errors' seem to be the only point of discussion for her when it comes to the article. My read is that by stating that, by stating that it doesn't contain 'errors,' is her indicating that she wants the column to stand - along with its interpretations - as it is. Her response to the WSJ makes it sounds like she's satisfied with what she wrote, and does not object to the interpretations made of it. If she did feel that people were 'getting the wrong end of the stick,' she had ample opportunity to explain. But she didn't. That's her prerogative, but also her responsibility.

Thus, I return to my original point: if she is unprepared to discuss and clarify her article when given the chance, why should others feel the need to?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As a senior high I often strolled around what is called the bluff of Yokohama. As you go uphill on the slope from the lower area which is densely occupied with modest looking small houses, a different world opens up there where light-colored American style houses with large double-hung windows stand here and there with enough space between each other in a well-kept large green yard and the road has changed its name into Mayflower Street. The area is however enclosed with a fence forbidding the entry of outsiders as part of the US Navy detachment and it just looks like a residential area where they live apart from us. Members of the SDF, even when provided with official lodgings which are in most cases ordinary condos, don’t seem to be living apart from the rest of us. I told myself at the time that this arrangement is a sort of cultural buffer rather than mere lodgings, still less apartheid, for those who come from a different culture.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiFeb. 18, 2015 - 04:05PM JST

Have you considered that in Sono's scenario such a lease agreement can be legally challenged on discrimination grounds?

I have, and apart from actually digging up some Japanese apartment lease agreements and reading through building and fire code regulations, my guess is that such stipulations already exist for everyone renting or buying an apartment in Japan. That's why I said in my previous post that Sono is trying to compare apples to oranges when suggesting such a ridiculous idea for Japan, based on what she has seen in South Africa.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well...that was a one sided conversation!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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