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)
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