Hi Blog. This Letter to the Editor appeared in today’s Japan Times. Thanks to G for the tip. Comment from me follows:
READERS IN COUNCIL
Town opts for isolation policy
The Japan Times, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007
By CHRIS FLYNN in Fukuoka
As the new year begins, we are approaching the “awards” season: the Academy Awards, Grammies and my favorite, the Darwin awards (given to people who improve the human-gene pool as part of the natural-selection process by accidentally killing or sterilizing themselves during a foolish or careless mistake). I would like to propose a new award: the “Dejima Awards,” given to those in Japan who actively try to shield themselves from foreigners and foreign influence, culture and ideas.
I would like to nominate the Setaka Town Assembly (Fukuoka Prefecture) for this year’s award. The town was trying to attract a university to establish a campus in town, and in the process asked for comments from the townsfolk.
A group of residents submitted a deposition opposing a campus that did not reject foreign students. They were worried about the crime such students would bring. That’s right — the residents wanted a university as long as there were no foreign students. The town assembly voted to accept the proposal without debate.
COMMENT: I assume the Japan Times checks its facts before publication, and Chris Flynn is somebody I know and trust from his days at radio station Love FM in Fukuoka. So I doubt the story is bogus.
Anyway, I like his idea of creating this kind of award as a form of raspberry. Too many times these stupidities and rustic paranoia seize the zeitgeist and create idiotic policy. The option of exposure for what this action clearly constitutes–xenophobia–is a viable one.
Thus may I award (if that would be alright with Chris) the first Debito.org Dejima Award to the Setaka Town Assembly for its foresight in anticipating the criminal element in all foreign students.
Debito in Sapporo