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There are many cases in which foreigners failed to get vaccinated because they threw away vaccination eligibility cards that they were unable to read, or because they could not fill out the pre-vaccination questionnaire. Some hesitate because they are unable to explain their preexisting medical problems during an interview with a doctor.

37 Comments

A spokesperson for the Immigration Services Agency. Local governments and companies that support the employment of foreign nationals have begun to offer help by translating answers to screening questionnaires, or sending interpreters to the vaccination sites, in 17 languages.

© Yomiuri Shimbun

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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foreigners failed” ? - This should have been a more fitting quote with less finger-pointing and more joint responsibility, from the same article:

“It is highly likely that vaccinations among foreigners lag far behind those of Japanese, because of language problems. It has become a matter of urgency for some effective measures to be taken.” An official at the Immigration Services Agency said.-

about 80% of foreign residents in Japan are under 50, their vaccinations are expected to get into full swing from now.
1 ( +6 / -5 )

The original article also says “many” but doesn’t give a number or percentage that are not yet vaccinated:

https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007793151

These were the preceding paragraphs to the “Quote of the Day”

- “In principle, anyone 12 or older who is inscribed on the basic residents’ register is eligible to be vaccinated, regardless of nationality. The basic requirement is a residence card issued to those who are to stay in Japan for more than 3 months or who have special permanent resident status.

*There were about 2.6 million eligible foreign residents in Japan as of January. Just like Japanese citizens, they are being sent vaccination cards and can get their shots free of charge. Even those with no record of registration as residents can get vaccinated if the head of a local government — the mayor of a city, town or village — recognizes a special reason.” *

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Well, didn't happen in Nanjo City. Doctors and nurses insisted on speaking English to me in spite of the fact that my Japanese is fluent.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

This is still a good timing to correct the problem, it is unfortunate that all the effort is left to companies and local governments but at least someone is trying to do something about it.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I'll be one of those interpreters next month. Volunteer, of course, but it's the right thing to do.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@Birtie: That happens a lot. Just repeat what they express in English back to them in Japanese to verify what they were trying to say to make sure no mistakes on their part.

My reading level is about 75% so I always ask for help with making sure I am reading them correctly. The medical survey questions are easy, but bank loans etc. can be rough.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Is this guy talking out his arse? Every foreigner I know who managed to get to this country and apply for a visa had no problem with the vaccine materials though they were sent late and making an appointment hit or miss. More likely employers refused to give any time off for vaccines and side effects.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

The ol' reliable blame it on the foreigners lack of Japanese playbook.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Perhaps @cracaphat 9:36am many misconceptions like these propagandized about fellow tax-paying, ‘resident workers’ could be avoided IF the original headline, article and source had been presented here?:

*- “Grassroots efforts to break language barrier* help foreigners get vaccinated in Japan” -Sep 24, 2021 ©Yomiuri Shimbun

*- @cracaphat 9:36am: “The ol' reliable blame it on the foreigners lack of Japanese playbook.” -*

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There are many cases in which foreigners failed to get vaccinated because they threw away vaccination eligibility cards that they were unable to read, or because they could not fill out the pre-vaccination questionnaire.

Yes, I haven't heard that in a long time. That it's the foreigners' fault they didn't read it.

The problem is rather that the whole vaccination event is an incredible mess and confusion. Did you realise how many different papers came in the envelope with the vaccination coupon itself? That alone is confusing. And then once you have to fill it out. Then you have to register once. Upon arriving at the vaccination center, one person checked part of one paper, asked me one thing, another person checked a second paper and asked another thing. And finally they asked me if I had any health problems, although that is exactly what I stated on their questionnaire. I have no problem with Japanese, but it was very confusing. In the envelope I received several leaflets with various childish mascots in the sense of "let's vaccinate ourselves to get rid of the corona virus", etc. Of the 10 or so different sheets, two were relevant - a vaccination card and a health questionnaire. And the fact that it's all confusing and overcomplicated is not a problem of foreigners or (in)knowledge of the language, it's a problem of it being overcomplicated and overconfusing.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Here in tiny Nobeoka, Miyazki there were nurses and doctors on hand who spoke Enlish, Chinese, Korean, and Portugese when I got both jabs. They insisted I have an English speaking practitioner because they wanted me to be 100% safe about the prejab, jab, and 30 minute wait after. As the doctor said, "If I were in your hometown back in the US I would want a Japanese speaker so I could be assured I was communicating precisely and being understood." If they can do it in Nobeoka, why not the larger (any other) places?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Just never ask them to explain something simply in their own words or in lay terms, even in simple Japanese, which most foreigners that stay here long enough can understand. I guess paraphrasing isn’t practiced enough at school or something. Always awkward. Especially if it’s some bloke. Watch the pain, head rubbing and teeth sucking begin. Shutdown. Even something fairly straightforward and simple can’t be explained.

Just think of me as a 12 year old mate, and say it again. With a friendly smile. That sometimes works.

If there’s a lady around they are usually better communicators so it’s a good strategy to go straight to them. Timely, simple, straightforward communication never been a strong point, and of course then it’s us silly gaijin that just don’t get it. Learn to paraphrase. Say what you just heard in your own words, don’t read someone else’s, yours. Good skill to have and one that needs work.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@YeahRight

Good job man.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In Japan people speak Japanese, this country is in no obligation to accommodate people who can't communicate in the language of the land.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

@Wooster, as in Tamagusuku? Nope. Had a good laugh speaking to everyone in their native tongue, well Japanese anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some hesitate because they are unable to explain their preexisting medical problems during an interview with a doctor.

That might be a reason in a few specific cases, admitted. But all the other talking? No excuses, there are enough internet links, smartphone or computer translation tools, phone help lines in many international languages etc. Not always, but surely here, regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations. Using for example google lens you don’t even need an understanding of a single word in Japanese and can read the fill-out forms as if they were given to you in your home country. Don’t hesitate or find excuses, just show a very little effort, go on and get vaccinated quickly.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yeahright:

I'll be one of those interpreters next month. Volunteer, of course, but it's the right thing to do.

What are you translating? Chinese, Spanish or Vietnamese?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

foreigners failed” ? - This should have been a more fitting quote with less finger-pointing and more joint responsibility, from the same article:

its Japan brother. Blaming us for everything is what they do here.

The ol' reliable blame it on the foreigners lack of Japanese playbook.

ALWAYS.

In Japan people speak Japanese, this country is in no obligation to accommodate people who can't communicate in the language of the land.

actually, yes it is. In the west, all services are available in a multitude of languages. I lived in Egypt for 9 years. In Egypt, they speak Arabic, but you do not need to understand it to go to a doctor, dentist, police officer etc. You can access these services other languages- We live in a multicultural world. We all have to support each other. If Japan wants to be treated like a first world country, it should AT LEAST rise to the level of a developing country like Egypt which is able to communicate in different languages.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

El RataToday  01:41 pm JST

In Japan people speak Japanese, this country is in no obligation to accommodate people who can't communicate in the language of the land.

You are absolutely missing the point.

The vaccination process itself is simple. Needle, small sting, over. Ten seconds.

And it's not even about whether someone should know this language or that language if they live here or there.

It's about the fact that even for a Japanese or a person who speaks perfect Japanese, the whole tiyatra around it is opaque and absurdly complex. It's not just that one ticket comes in, I copy a code on the booking page of some medical facility, I get there at the time given, and in ten seconds I'm done.

It's like I wrote above - in addition to the two relevant documents, some 8 other irrelevant documents arrive in an envelope with some infantile characters, etc. Once you fill out a paper, you still get asked about what's already in the paper. And I haven't even mentioned the complicated procedure one goes through to register.

The point of the article was that someone from the "Immigration Services Agency" is pointing the finger at foreigners and that it's their fault for not getting vaccinated and throwing away the paperwork or not being able to fill it out BECAUSE IT IS TOO COMPLICATED. It's easy to blame everything on the foreigners who live here. But it is not a problem that a foreigner does not get vaccinated because they may not speak the language. It is mainly because here any situation, any procedure has to be made as complicated as possible, as much paperwork as possible, etc. Why make it easy when we can make it complicated? And by making it as complicated as possible, then we are pointing out that it is actually all the fault of the foreigners living here.

TLDR - is the difference between cause and effect. Causality. Translating the relevant paper is something else entirely-

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well, didn't happen in Nanjo City. Doctors and nurses insisted on speaking English to me in spite of the fact that my Japanese is fluent.

That typically happens when the professionals dont think you actually ARE fluent!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's about the fact that even for a Japanese or a person who speaks perfect Japanese, the whole tiyatra around it is opaque and absurdly complex.

Exactly! Even "native" Japanese had a difficult time with the application process. Many had to jump through plenty of hoops before they could even get to the point where they were given an appointment.

Every city, town, and village had different methods to their mismanagement of getting the vaccinations to the people!

When my son got his at his university in Tokyo it was just line up, show your ID, get the shot and get your second shot appointment at the same time!

They then asked for their municipal shot card to be sent to them at a later date! It was like, lets get the shot done and deal with the paperwork later! And literally hundreds if not thousands of students, at his university, got their first shots, way back in July and like my son, their second one at the beginning of August!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Aly Rustom

In the west, all services are available in a multitude of languages.

Good for the west, this is not the west though. Unlike Egypt Japan doesn't need the foreigners, the foreigners need Japan therefore it is them the ones who have to assimilate.

@Robert Cikki

After reading your response it seems that foreigners in Japan love to play the victim card all the time - ohh! Poor me! The government and the locals blame me for everything! - I can assure you, Japanese people don't care about the how foreigners live their lives unless it affects them. Personally, I refuse to play the victim card.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I've got this wonderful app on my phone.... Google translate. Some of you may have heard of it. Free to download. Not perfect, but usually good enough. ... :)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

so "foreigner failed" to follow your orders?

how abt to put this way that some of them simply did not want be vaccinated and be part of this big money business experiment?

or this "no option" to be taken in consideration?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

When I am not understood I write it down.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Lets play "blame the gaijin card" because of illiteracy aye? Ever heard the saying "Trying to live in a country where you don't understand the language and cant not read any is like being blind"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lets play "blame the gaijin card" because of illiteracy aye?

Eh? I read this as taking responsibility for not ensuring that foreign nationals who cannot read Japanese were able to read the cards. The goal here is to get everyone vaccinated, so if they didn't give them a clear means to do so, they screwed up, and this guy is acknowledging that. It's not blaming the gaijin, it's blaming themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about making a little effort and start translating at least the very important documents, that incidentally only Japanese and no one else can read? Japanese are very reluctant to use other languages, they should look abroad for some guidance, at least English.It would do a great deal of good, primarily to themselves and their younger generations. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that, for the great majority of foreign workers, learning kanji isn't exactly a priority or something that could one day be beneficial to one's curriculum outside Japan. Let's face it kanji is the biggest obstacle to integration and the biggest enemy of Japan on the world stage. I would relegate it tomorrow to a form of art and replace it with English straight away

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are online sites in English and probably other languages, explaining the procedures for covid vaccinations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Wooster, as in Tamagusuku? Nope. Had a good laugh speaking to everyone in their native tongue, well Japanese anyway.

And odds are you dont run around telling people you speak fluent Japanese either. That's why as well.

In all the years I have lived here, the one's who say they are, arent, and the one's that dont typically talk about it, are.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

El Rata

Good for the west, this is not the west though.

Yeah, but Japan likes to make itself out to be a modern country on par with the west though.

Unlike Egypt Japan doesn't need the foreigners,

Of course it does! It needs more foreigners than Egypt does. Without foreigners, the country would collapse tomorrow.

the foreigners need Japan therefore it is them the ones who have to assimilate.*

No they don't. The world is a big place.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@El RataSep.

Unlike Egypt Japan doesn't need the foreigners, the foreigners need Japan therefore it is them the ones who have to assimilate.

Excuse me, but have you ever been to Japan in the last 30 years, or are you a citizen of Japan? Because what you're saying is the complete opposite of the current situation. Japan needs foreigners, and that's mainly due to the decline of its own population and the unfilled positions of certain jobs.

I'm not saying that foreigners shouldn't adapt here. But you're completely twisting the arguments and using the twisted arguments to argue that it's twisted.

After reading your response it seems that foreigners in Japan love to play the victim card all the time - ohh! Poor me! The government and the locals blame me for everything! - I can assure you, Japanese people don't care about the how foreigners live their lives unless it affects them. Personally, I refuse to play the victim card.

Could you please read the article's perex again? Or, let me do it for you.

Quote:

There are many cases in which foreigners failed to get vaccinated because they threw away vaccination eligibility cards that they were unable to.....................................

..........

................A spokesperson for the Immigration Services Agency................

Yes, some people like to use the foreigner card. However, in this case it is quite the opposite, in this case it is again finger pointing at those foreigners who can't read, etc.

You still don't understand that it's not the fault of foreigners that the whole vaccination process is so complicated. Even for many Japanese it was a bit of a hassle to register and dig through that "mountain" of irrelevant paperwork. Even for foreigners who have lived here for decades and speak Japanese at a native speaker level.

Essentialy, this is just pointing the finger and shifting the blame.

Instead of the process being simple and efficient like in other countries (you don't need 10 papers when only two are relevant) it's just unnecessarily complicated and instead of someone acknowledging that it's complicated and simplifying it, the finger is pointed at a certain group of people and the conversation turns that direction. Instead of wasting money on leaflets in an envelope with infantile characters urging people to get vaccinated (and this leaflet is irrelevant to the vaccination process itself), they could have either saved the money or put it towards some translation for those "incompetent foreigners who can't read".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well said Robert!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agree with @Robert Cikki. The whole system is a mess not just for Foreigner. I remember an article about a blind person which has their paper hanging around until someone could actually tell what it was.

As said by @Yubaru every place were doing things their own way. For something which is to be national wide the national government should stop passing the bucket moreover to such an extend. Should not be difficult to give guideline about what to do if not how. For this one, could have been easy to create a 1 (and only) document with a short explanation in language read in Japan (japanese / easy japanese / english / chinese / korean / vietnamese / potuguese perhaps) simply stating what was the content of the envelop, the need to kept the document and useful QR code / Internet link / hotline / ...(national one and possibility for local one to be added easily on the document) to be included in every single envelop to be sent.

If I got lucky with my residing place, I know in other place it was less convenient and I ended up having to fill in information not only for foreigner friends.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

English site for covid vaccination info

https://v-sys.mhlw.go.jp/en/flow/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

English site for covid vaccination info

Right, thanks for nothing, your "link" activates my virus protection.... not funny!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yubaru

English site for covid vaccination info

Right, thanks for nothing, your "link" activates my virus protection.... not funny!

It's just a website I have no problems

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Try a different browser?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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