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  • Fun Facts #2: Comparative govt “kokusaika”-friendliness by Prefecture

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on April 5th, 2007

    Hi Blog. More FUN FACTS (maybe this time “factoids”), courtesy of the Minami Nihon Shinbun of February 12, 2007:

    (Click on image to see whole article, or widen your browser window to see color map)

    minaminihon0212070.jpg

    This is a color-coded chart of how each of Japan’s 47 municipal governments stack up in terms of NJ user-friendliness for their NJ residents (tabunka kyousei)–behind the two other pillars the national government (Soumushou) determined in March 2006 to be the backbone of Japan’s internationalization: “International Communication” (kokusai kouryuu), and “International Cooperation” (kokusai kyouryoku). “Multicultural Coexistence”, the cleanest translation I can come up for tabunka kyousei, means, according to the article, “the mutual acknowledgement of peoples’ differences by nationality and ethnicity, and living together as equals in the local communities”.

    Hm. This shows quite a bit of thought on the part of the government. Well and good. But in practice?

    An NPO in Osaka (the Tabunka Kyousei Center) launched a survey to see how well each local government did. According to the article, they included services such as Japanese lessons, information in foreign languages, education for their children, and policies taking into consideration local non-Japanese residents, etc. The data was collected between October 2005 and August 2006. Full marks are 80 points.

    As you can see by the color coding in the above article, Tokyo and Hyogo scored best, then high-foreign population centers near Aichi and Gifu bubbled under. Scoring worst were Aomori, Nagasaki, Saga, Ehime, and (gasp–seriously) Okinawa!

    The Japan Times (Feb 15, 2007) also did a full article on this, blogged on Debito.org at http://www.debito.org/?p=223

    The average score was just above half marks, 41 points. So any prefecture in the map above colored orange or below should hang their heads in shame. Note how they are often the ones with depopulation problems (not to mention imported brides for farmers), so if local governments want to avoid acculturalization issues in the future, they had better get their acts together and make people more comfortable living there.

    Debito in Sapporo

    One Response to “Fun Facts #2: Comparative govt “kokusaika”-friendliness by Prefecture”

    1. debito Says:

      –POSTED BY DAN, REPOSTING HERE AT AUTHOR’S REQUEST

      It may be a bit late, but I’d like to point out that the two highest
      scoring prefectures were Hyogo and Kanagawa, as can be seen in the map
      and in the article text. It may be hard to see, but it looks as
      though Tokyo (東京都) scored somewhere in the middle, highlighted in
      light orange (30-39 points) on the map.

      The criteria for such “multicultural coexistence” are interesting but
      vague. I am wondering if they take into account laws against
      discrimination or records of blatant discrimination cases that have
      been taking place recently. Some statistics are better than none, but
      I would hope that evidence of existing multicultural institutions or
      assimilation of foreigners in some places would not be used to argue
      against the need for anti-discrimination legislation.

      DEBITO COMMENTS: HI DAN. I AGREE. ALTHOUGH IT’S PROBABLY UNNECESSARY TO LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH LIKE THIS WHEN SOMEBODY IS ACTUALLY TRYING TO GRADE AND FORCE PREFECTURES TO IMPROVE THEIR OPENNESS TO NJ. THAT SAID, I DON’T HAVE MORE INFORMATION ON THE PROCESSES AND CRITERIA INVOLVED IN THIS SURVEY. ASK THE GROUP AND LET US KNOW?

      IN ANY CASE, SO FEW PLACES HAVE ANY EXPLICIT LAWS OR JOUREI AGAINST DISCRIMINATION BY RACE OR NATIONAL ORIGIN (I CAN ONLY THINK OF ONE PLACE WITH A LOCAL MEASURE TO PROTECT NJ AGAINST HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN PARTICULAR–KAWASAKI–AND THAT IS LOCATED IN TOP-SCORING KANAGAWA; YET THERE IS A CASE OF IJIME BY RACE STILL IN COURT THERE TOO WHICH I DOUBT WAS TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.

      THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT! DEBITO

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