JK on emerging GOJ policies towards refugees & immigration, still not allowing them to stay in Japan: “tourists yes, refugees & immigrants no”

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Hi Blog. Debito.org Reader JK keeps sending me intriguing tacks on recent articles (thanks), and here’s another bunch:

Debito.org hasn’t talked as much as other topics about the Government of Japan (GOJ)’s attitude towards refugees (in that, the acceptance of refugees is one measure of international contributions by the club of rich, developed countries and UN treaty signatories). But it is safe to say that the GOJ has not been cooperative, accepting fewer people in total over the past sixty years than some countries do in a single year — as the United Nations is aware.

So now the Abe Administration is trying a different tack:  Accepting refugees as temporary students, and then sending them “home” someday.  JK parses that to bits below.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

/////////////////////////////////

From:  JK

Hi Debito:

From articles cited at the very bottom:

“The idea is that by accepting refugees as students, Japan could aid in training personnel for the later reconstruction of Syria.”

「留学生の受け入れで、将来的にシリアの再建に関わる人材の育成に寄与したい 考え。」

…and…

“The plan represents the government’s efforts to think of a way to contribute to solving the Syria issue, without influencing the current refugee authorization system.”

「政府としては、現状の難民認定制度の枠組みや基準に影響を与えない形で、実 質的にシリア問題に貢献できる方法を探った形だ。」

Translation: GOJ doesn’t want to look bad at the UN in front of the other nations who are actually doing something to help refugees, so what to do?…Ah! Accept refugees as students to make it look like Japan is making a difference — Japan trains the Syrians so that one day they can go ‘home’ and fix everything up, and as students, they’re not in a position to stay for good as would be the case if they were accepted as refugees. It’s a win-win!

My armchair social theory is that the GOJ’s view of NJ is strictly monetary (i.e. get money from NJ tourists, give money to NJ refugees; NJ trainees / NJ bribes, etc.).

Abe speaks to boost Japan tourism at New York event
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002455922

Japan will do more to be well prepared to host foreign guests going into the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, he said at the seminar also joined by former New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui and U.S. actress Charlotte Kate Fox.

Abe: Japan ready to help refugees, but not take them in
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150930p2g00m0in032000c.html

“As an issue of demography, I would say that before accepting immigrants or refugees we need to have more activities by women, by elderly people and we must raise (the) birth rate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants,” Abe told a news conference, according to the official translation of his comments.

Translation: Accepting immigrants is the last thing we should do.  Sincerely, JK

/////////////////////////////////

Sources:

難民:「受け入れ」検討…政府、シリアから留学生として
http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20150925k0000m010107000c.html

毎日新聞 2015年09月25日 09時00分

シリアなどから欧州に難民が押し寄せている問題を受け、日本政府はシリアから留学生として難民を受け入れる方向で検討に入った。欧州連合(EU)はギリシャなどに着いた12万人の難民受け入れで合意。米国も人数を年々増やし、2017会計年度には10万人を受け入れる方針を表明した。28日からニューヨークの国連総会で行われる各国首脳らの一般討論演説では、難民問題も議題になる見通しで、日本としてシリア問題に貢献する姿勢を国際社会に表明する狙いがある。

関係者によると、難民問題の解決に向けた資金拠出に加え、人的な面でも貢献できないか検討。留学生の受け入れで、将来的にシリアの再建に関わる人材の育成に寄与したい考え。

法務省によると、昨年の難民認定者数は5000人の申請者に対し11人。シリアからの難民申請者も、ほとんどが人道的配慮による在留許可にとどまる。留学生としての受け入れは、通常の難民認定とは異なるが、正規の資格で日本に滞在できる。政府としては、現状の難民認定制度の枠組みや基準に影響を与えない形で、実質的にシリア問題に貢献できる方法を探った形だ。【三木幸治、隅俊之】
【毎日新聞】
//////////////////////////////////////////////

Japanese gov’t considers accepting Syrian refugees as students
September 25, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150925p2a00m0na002000c.html

Japanese gov’t considers accepting Syrian refugees as students

As refugees from Syria and other countries pour into Europe, the Japanese government has begun to ponder accepting Syrian refugees in the form of students.

The European Union has agreed to accept 120,000 refugees that have arrived in countries including Greece, while the United States has announced its intention to accept an increasing number of refugees over the years, with 100,000 to be accepted in fiscal 2017. During speeches by member nations’ heads of state at the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York starting Sept. 28, the refugee problem is expected to be discussed, and Japan aims to display to the international community its contributory stance in trying to solve the Syria problem.

According to an insider source, in addition to helping fund the solving of the refugee problem, considerations are also being made over whether Japan can contribute on the human side of the issue. The idea is that by accepting refugees as students, Japan could aid in training personnel for the later reconstruction of Syria.

The Ministry of Justice says that last year out of 5,000 refugee applicants, Japan approved 11. Most of the refugee applicants from Syria are only being allowed to stay out of humanitarian consideration. Acceptance as students, while different from the normal system of accommodating refugees, would allow refugees to be in Japan with official authorization. The plan represents the government’s efforts to think of a way to contribute to solving the Syria issue, without influencing the current refugee authorization system.
ENDS
//////////////////////////////////////////////

Abe speaks to boost Japan tourism at New York event
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002455922
8:05 pm, September 29, 2015 Jiji Press

NEW YORK (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that he wants people to know more about Japan and have more exchanges with Japanese people.

Abe made the comments at a seminar organized at a New York hotel by the Japan National Tourism Organization to promote visits to Japan.

Japan will do more to be well prepared to host foreign guests going into the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, he said at the seminar also joined by former New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui and U.S. actress Charlotte Kate Fox.
ENDS
//////////////////////////////////////////////

Abe: Japan ready to help refugees, but not take them in
September 30, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150930p2g00m0in032000c.html

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Japan’s prime minister said Tuesday that his nation needs to attend to its own demographic challenges posed by falling birth rates and an aging population before opening its doors to refugees.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at the U.N. General Assembly that Japan is ramping up assistance in response to the exodus of refugees to Europe from the Middle East and Africa.

He said Japan will provide $1.5 billion in emergency aid for refugees and for stabilization of communities facing upheaval.

But speaking to reporters later Tuesday he poured cold water on the idea of Japan opening its doors to those fleeing.

He said Japan first needed to attend to domestic challenges which he proposes to tackle under a revamped economic policy that aims to boost GDP to a post-war record level, while bolstering the social security system to support families.

“As an issue of demography, I would say that before accepting immigrants or refugees we need to have more activities by women, by elderly people and we must raise (the) birth rate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants,” Abe told a news conference, according to the official translation of his comments.

He added that Japan would “discharge our own responsibility” in addressing the refugee crisis, which he described as helping to improve conditions that cause the exodus.

Abe earlier told the world body that Japan would provide $810 million this year for emergency assistance of refugees and internally displaced persons from Syria and Iraq, triple what it gave last year. Abe said Japan is also preparing about $750 million for stabilization efforts in the Middle East and Africa.

Japan prides itself on being a good global citizen. It is one of the largest aid donors in the world. Last year Japan gave $181.6 million to the UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, making it second only to the United States in generosity.

But it has offered very few if any resettlement places for refugees from the civil war in Syria.

According to Ministry of Justice data, it accepted just 11 asylum seekers out of a record 5,000 applications last year, although Japanese officials say most of the asylum applicants were from other Asian countries and were already living in Japan.

Some argue that increased immigration could help arrest a shrinking population, which is currently 126 million. Abe says he is determined to ensure that in 50 years the Japanese population has stabilized at 100 million.

ENDS

17 comments on “JK on emerging GOJ policies towards refugees & immigration, still not allowing them to stay in Japan: “tourists yes, refugees & immigrants no”

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    >“As an issue of demography, I would say that before accepting immigrants or refugees we need to have more activities by women, by elderly people and we must raise (the) birth rate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants,”

    Well explains his intention that immigrants and refugees are not considered as part of picture to fix problem with demography in his small ‘Brave New World.’ Classic excuse for close-mindedness of Japanese leaders.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    This is (if you’ll excuse the cliche) typical Japan.

    All of Japan’s economic, demographic and social problems are down to a total inability at all levels of society to reconcile the demands of preserving *what they perceive to be* their ‘unique Japanese culture’ against all of the economic, demographic, and social challenges created by the very act of trying to preserve it.

    This causes cognitive-dissonance, since accepting the reality of this cause-effect dynamic would totally undermine the very fundamentals of Japanese identity in their entirety, and therefore Japan (as a society) displays the predicted response to proof of cognitive-dissonance; it doubles down on the very belief systems that have been demonstrated to be detrimental to their well-being.

    As Dr. Debito has said, it’s a cult of Japaneseness, a religion of Nihonjinron, it’s a delusion, a mental illness. Other cults believe that a UFO will take them away, or they will be rewarded in the afterlife, or simply just the positive affirmation that the believer is ‘a good person’. The Japanese believe that they are so special, they can defy all analysis and understanding, and therefore are a law unto themselves even in economic and demographic terms.

    With around 125,000,000 Japanese, this must surely be the most contagious mental-illness in recorded history.

    — Then again, what we’re talking about here is government policy, created by a select and intellectually-isolated elite, not the will or belief of all Japanese people. Let’s not hyperbolize.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    As an addition to my above, look at this;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/02/national/japanese-expect-tourism-boom-lift-economy-fear-culture-clash-survey/

    Even whilst Japanese hope that increased tourism can save their dying economy, they are at the same time afraid of the ‘Clash of Cultures’ that increased tourist numbers will bring, with almost 1 in 3 surveyed saying that they have safety fears of foreigners.

    Where I come from, ‘Clash of Cultures’ is about jihadis crashing planes into buildings, not Chinese coming shopping.

    There is no hope for these people if ‘others’ shopping leaves them so traumatized.

    Reply
  • Well, just ignore the closed minded Japanese government for a minute, and let me ask you a question. Does Japan have any civic action groups that advocate for refugees and immigrants? Are there any organizations that fight for, and asks the government to take in more refugees and immigrants, as there are in most other developed countries? If there are any, I haven’t heard that they even exist. Anyone can correct me if I’m wrong. Coincidentally, I saw a Japanese TV debate on Japan becoming more generous to refugees, and many of the audiences seemed to be fixated on supposed flood of South Koreans who will enter Japan if Japan decided to liberalize the refugee system. I just sat there shaking my head.

    — Yes, Japanese organizations that assist refugees exist.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Whilst many female Syrian refugees are likely thinking ‘I hope I don’t get robbed, raped, an killed’, right-wing Japanese manga artist posts drawing of scantily clad, ‘young’ and ‘moe’ female Syrian refugee with caption;

    ‘“I want to live a safe and clean life, have a gourmet meal, go out freely, wear pretty things and luxuriate. I want to live my life the way I want without a care in the world — all at the expense of someone else. I have an idea. Why don’t I become a refugee?”

    On his facebook.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/02/national/social-issues/racist-illustration-refugee-girl-sparks-ire-among-japans-netizens/

    This should give you all some idea of how Japan’s right-wing elites misunderstand what refugee means (however, given that Abe thinks ‘aggression’ hasn’t been defined, I strongly believe that right-wingers have never heard of dictionaries).

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG,

    >The Japanese believe that they are so special, they can defy all analysis and understanding, and therefore are a law unto themselves even in economic and demographic terms.

    No. That’s what the institutions and national leaders want the general public to believe throughout generations. It’s sort of decline theory in democracy & citizenship–the stuff you see Walter Lippman’s “the Phantom Public” or John Dewey’s “The Public & Its Problem.”

    There was a debate over whether public is nothing more phantom(so it needs in aid of experts as solution to the problem) or in eclipse(meaning, it’s capable of instigating a mass rally by creating a community to fix the problem) .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_Public

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Public_and_its_Problems

    The Abe regime and LDP wreckers are so desperate in fixing the problem by making a fake promise to alleviate public anxiety through his Abenomics. It’s interesting to see what so called “experts” have been doing to fix the problem. Panacea?

    Mass rally and total chaos over revised national security bill suggests that the public knows pretty well what’s wrong with the government and the society as a whole.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Loverilakkuma #7

    That is a valid point; how much of this really are the shared values, beliefs, and opinions of the majority of Japanese citizens (the public), and how much of this is simply that which we are being told are the shared values, beliefs, and opinions of the majority of Japanese citizens (the public) by people like Abe and all his right-wing policy makers for the last 70 years?

    The acid test is that people know (and if they don’t, they have a moral responsibility in a democracy to inform themselves) what these people stand for when they are up for election. And the people continue to choose the LDP and Abe. There can be no apologizing and excusing that. Even refusing to vote is endorsing the LDP by not actively (if crossing a box can be called active) seeking change.

    So, yeah, the great unwashed are sharing those values by refusing to oppose them.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    How many times have we heard this story, ‘Japan must be changing because foreign-born, but naturalized citizens are popular; Japanese society is being forced to accept diversity’?

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2015/10/04/general/biracial-athletes-making-strides-changing-japanese-society/

    What a self-serving and myopic myth-feeding load of rubbish.
    This morning’s news was banging on endlessly about the Japanese rugby team’s victory over Samoa in the UK yesterday, and my daughter asked me why they call the black guy and the white guy on TV, who weren’t born here, ‘Nipponjin’ (not *even* just ‘Nihonjin, BUT NIPPONJIN!), but even though she was born here, she always gets called ‘half’ by everyone, and I just had to tell her the truth; because Japan is racist.

    — Not sure how that logically follows in this context.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, my kids get treated as second rate citizens because they have a white parent, and all of Abe’s excuses for not accepting refugees are really a ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ way of saying ‘preserving Japan’s homogeneity’, which is a myth in itself. And the J-media won’t call him out on that, and reinforces the myth, then with no sense of shame or hypocrisy attempts to bestow ‘full nihonjin’ status on famous NJ because they are famous.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    Yes, Jim Postmodern Japan is absolutely mesmerized by fame.they claim the NJ if they are famous.

    “why they call the black guy and the white guy on TV, who weren’t born here, ‘Nipponjin’”.

    Actually that was their “15 minutes of being Nipponjin”- honorary Japanese by being on “Team Japan”.
    And for this fleeting honor they will still face daily discrimination if not accompanied by a J-Host, who will make excuses like, “Sumimasen, let him into this restaurant because he is FAMOUS, on the winning J team you know, and anyway he is accompanied by a J minder”.

    Can’t have all these NJs wandering around unaccompanied now can we? But on a team, yeah they are honored to be part of Japan

    Reply
  • Hi Debito:

    Here’s some more evidence to illustrate how NJ are viewed as a human commodity akin to crude oil on the GOJ’s balance sheet:

    Foreign visitors boost Japan’s Aug. current account surplus 6-fold
    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151008p2g00m0bu029000c.html

    Regards, -JK

    — But don’t many countries report tourism as a matter of trade on a balance sheet?

    ===================================

    Foreign visitors boost Japan’s Aug. current account surplus 6-fold
    October 08, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)

    TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s current account surplus expanded more than six-fold in August from a year earlier to log a surplus for the 14th straight month, thanks in part to foreign visitors lifting the travel surplus to a record high for the month, the government said Thursday.

    The surplus in the current account balance — one of the widest gauges of a country’s international trade — stood at 1,653.1 billion yen ($13.8 billion), up about 6.6-fold, as falling crude prices pushed down the value of oil imports and a weaker yen boosted overseas income.

    The goods trade deficit shrank 61.7 percent to 326.1 billion yen, with exports climbing 3.6 percent to 5,857.9 billion yen while imports shed 4.9 percent to 6,184.1 billion yen, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

    The value of crude oil imports dropped 33.0 percent as average oil prices plunged 46.6 percent to $59.05 per barrel during the month. The value of liquefied natural gas fell 30.2 percent.

    Japan has been relying heavily on energy imports since the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster caused the country’s commercial reactors to remain mostly offline amid heightened public concern about their safety.

    The surplus in the primary income account, which reflects how much Japan earns from its foreign investments, grew 35.0 percent to 2,051.8 billion yen, as the yen’s depreciation helped raise receipts from overseas securities investments. It was the largest surplus for August since comparable data became available in 1985, according to the ministry.

    The weakening yen also helped attract foreign visitors to Japan, lifting the travel balance to a surplus of 78.2 billion yen, the largest for August since comparable data became available in 1996.

    The yen dropped versus the U.S. dollar by 19.7 percent year-on-year in the reporting month to an average 123.23. A weaker yen usually supports exports by making Japanese products cheaper abroad and lifts the value of overseas revenues in yen terms.

    A surplus in intellectual property use fees also climbed to the highest for the month, due mainly to increased royalties in the automobile and pharmaceutical sectors, helping to turn around the service balance to a surplus of 57.8 billion yen.

    Satoshi Osanai, an economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, said Japan’s current account surplus was boosted by the primary income account as well as the turnaround in the service balance.

    “Though the service balance has been in the red for a long time, it has started improving to post a surplus several times this year,” due partly to robust inbound demand, said Osanai.

    But prospects for the trade balance are unclear as a slowdown in overseas economies is likely to lead to sluggish exports, he added.

    ENDS

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    BBC picks up the story of uyoku manga ‘artist’ who took photo of Syrian refugee girl and made manga of her saying she wanted to freeload off of Japan;

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-34460325

    Manga artist defends her work in typical J-righting fashion;
    ‘Im being targeted by communists’, and ‘I want to warn the hardworking people of Europe’.

    So offended by her racism.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    Jim, and she is so “Japan as victim”, offended that people are offended. Hypersensitive, but not to the targets of their jokes.

    Wagamama, actually. But when NJs are targets, its ok to be selfish? What about NJs losing face?

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    ps. Jim, what communists? I mean, really? Other than the JCP, I can’t think of any left in the world ( I dont count China as “communist”).

    The Beeb is communist? OK, well NHK must be “fascist”. Tit for tat.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    “Toshiko Hasumi told BBC Trending that she believed the people signing the petition were left-wing activists. “I draw many political mangas [Japanese comics] which are not favourable to them,” she said. “This is why they targeted me.”

    Well, Japan is so right wing now I guess even the DPJ could be classed as left wing activists. Moderate elements of Komeito, even. Or Yohei Kono. Come to think of it, Koizumi, too- he is anti nuclear these days.

    On the bright side, the world really knows what this kind of Japanese are thinking these days: “Hyams, who earlier tweeted: “Shocked+deeply saddened anyone would choose to use an image of an innocent child to express such perverse prejudice”.”

    Perverse prejudice, indeed.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-34460325

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Baudrillard, #16

    Toshiba Hasumi is a typical right wing rabble-rouser linking with like-minded people who are preaching “Japanese-are-uniquely-unique-and-superior-race-to-anyone-in-the-world” eugenics myth. Her apologetic excuse resonates with crazy GOP cheer-leaders(i.e., Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingram, Ann Coulter, and Fox News box office stars).

    Reply

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