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Hi Blog. In a show of xenophobia mixed with outright meanness, Japan’s political dinosaurs (we all know what a nasty person Ishihara Shintaro is, but remember what kind of a bigot Hiranuma Takeo is too) will propose legislation that will officially exclude NJ taxpayers down on their luck from receiving the benefits to social welfare that they have paid into. Put simply, they are seeking to legislate theft. Oh, and just in case you think “if you want equal rights in Japan, you should naturalize“, they’ve thought of that too, and according to the article below are calling for naturalization to become more stringent as well.
This is on the heels of a dumbfoundingly stupid Supreme Court decision last July that requires Japanese citizenship for access to public welfare benefits. I’ve heard people say that all this decision did was clarify the law, and that it won’t affect the local governments from continuing to be more humanitarian towards foreign human residents. But you see, it HAS affected things — it’s now encouraged rightists to codify more exclusivity, not leftists more inclusivity. In this currently far-right political climate in Japanese politics and governance, more exclusionism, not less, will become normalized, as long as the mindsets and actions of these horrible old men are allowed to pass without comment or critique.
Well, that’s one reason Debito.org is here — comment and critique — and we say that these old bigots should have their legacy denied. But remember, it’s not as simple as waiting for the Old Guard to die off (Nakasone Yasuhiro, remember, is still alive and pretty genki at age 96), because a new generation of conservative elites are waiting like a row of shark’s teeth to replace the old. Be aware of it, and tell your voting Japanese friends about how this affects you. Because no-one else can with such conviction. You must do all that you can so your legacy, not theirs, wins. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
THE JAPAN TIMES: NATIONAL
Conservative party to submit bill halting welfare for needy foreigners
BY MIZUHO AOKI, STAFF WRITER
AUG 26, 2014, courtesy of john k and pku
Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations) said Tuesday it plans to submit a revised bill to the extraordinary Diet session this fall to exclude poverty-stricken non-Japanese residents from receiving welfare benefits.
The opposition party, launched this month by conservative lawmakers including former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, said the public assistance law should be revised in accordance with the recent landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that permanent residents of Japan are not entitled to welfare benefits for financially needy people.
“Based on the ruling, it is (our duty) to revise the public assistance law,” Hiroshi Yamada, the secretary-general of the party, told a news conference in Tokyo.
Regardless of whether foreign residents pay taxes in Japan or not, the public assistance law is only for “Japanese nationals,” he stressed. Another law should be created to deal with foreigners, he said.
The Supreme Court ruled in July that permanent foreign residents of Japan are ineligible for welfare benefits, in response to a lawsuit filed by an 82-year-old Chinese woman with permanent residency.
The public assistance law stipulates that only Japanese nationals are eligible to receive the welfare payments. Even so, municipalities have been providing welfare benefits, such as monthly stipends for living expenses and housing, to financially needy foreigners with permanent or long-term residency status for years.
This practice was based on advice issued by the central government in 1954 to accept applications from foreigners in dire need of aid from a “humanitarian” point of view.
The conservative opposition party, headed by Takeo Hiranuma, was officially established on Aug. 1 after breaking from Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party). Its basic policies, unveiled in July, include denying non-Japanese residents the right to vote in national or local elections as well as introducing stricter standards for foreigners to obtain citizenship.
20 comments on “JT: Ishihara and Hiranuma’s conservative party to submit bill halting welfare for needy NJ a la July Supreme Court decision”
The only language these guys understand is muscle. Until the foreign community unites, and puts pressure on their supporters, they will not change.
Join my boycott of all Japanese products – because Japan supports discriminatory laws, and idiots like these guys – and eventually, Japanese manufacturers will pressure them to change.
There is no other way.
This is racism, pure and simple. We need more gaiatsu NOW!
I agree with Dude.
You can only hurt Team Japan by hurting Japan Inc.
Whaling, Fukushima debacle, institutionalized racism, the only way to make them change is international pressure hitting them in the pocket book.
If only there were a way of linking this issue to the Olympics.
> Be aware of it, and tell your voting Japanese friends about how this affects you.
I can’t speak for others, but none of my Japanese friends and acquaintances are particularly proficient in English, so I suspect that it would help to point to a Japanese language article to frame the conversation. As such, below are two such articles.
毎日新聞 2014年08月21日 22時10分（最終更新 08月21日 23時15分）
— Thanks for these!
@ Paul, #4
It’s not looking good at the moment, is it? What’s the message that would be visitors are getting from the international press? Lets take BBC as an example;
1. Fukushima untamed.
2. Dengue fever closes Tokyo parks.
3. UN urges anti-hate speech law.
4. Abe honors war criminals.
And that’s just the last 4 weeks!
It’ll take the BBC another 48 hours to get round to printing that the Japanese are going out whaling in Antartica again.
Japan is it’s own worst enemy. Massive image fail; Japan is a modern country! Japan is a country of law!
#7 Jim Di Griz – Japan may seem like its own worst enemy, but what, really, are the consequences of its actions or bad behavior?
The 4 topics you mentioned will have no measurable negative effect on Japan, Inc.
1. With radiation still leaking into the Pacific Ocean, Japan was awarded the 2020 Olympics!
2 & 3 are not worth mentioning.
4. People around the world who would (& did) boycott products from people who glorify the Nazi’s or benefited from Apartheid in South Africa, have nothing to say about this issue. This is not even on most people’s list! Most Americans drive their Prius or Honda hybrid, blissfully ignorant about what their money is actually supporting. And if you tell them, they just don’t care! Japan is “our friend”, so its really not that bad…or, that was a long time ago…
The lines have been drawn on its whaling “research” – one underfunded small boat (sea shepard) harasses the whalers, and nothing changes. The people who are against it, are against it. Those for Japan whaling are still for it. And both sides still buy Toyota’s and Honda’s, to replace their previous Japanese car…
Don’t make the mistake of confusing reality (the truth) with the image most people have of Japan. The power of marketing proves that the truth often loses out to a well crafted facade. Case in point: Japan, in its entirety, 2014.
Absolutely true Dude, and mores the pity.
Maybe if stories like this get traction in the western press, we’ll see some pressure; 2 of Abe’s new cabinet picks have close connections to the Japanese National Socialists ( official self-proclaimed Japanese Nazis), and one thought 9/11 was a good thing!
@Jim and @Dude (#7) I disagree. Since I returned from Japan and continued my life here in Germany (without any reverse culture shock whatsoever, but rather a feeling I can only describe as “being released from jail”), I have been asked by a lot of people about my time in Japan and the overwhelming feeling I get from them is that they find Japan interesting but also most of them say “I’d never go there.” Now, the reasons when I ask why are (in descending order of popularity).
– There are much more desirable destinations for a vacation / company expat situation (The Americas, mostly)
– Fukushima, i.e. fear of irradiation
– It’s just too long of a haul
– It’s too creepy (“Manga porn everywhere”, “gropers on trains”)
– It’s too hard to get around once there if you can’t read or speak the language
– General dislike of Asian culture (food mainly) (might also have to do with racism, but not always).
The news that Japan produces do already have a very negative effect on it, in so far that most people who are not into a very specific aspect of Japanese culture (like Manga, or Samurai, or Bonsai, etc.) think of Japan as “weird” and likely not a good choice to spend money and time on. As it stands, the people who want to visit Japan or even would consider living there, are (and I’ll include myself) often a little nerdy (Cos-Play fans, “yellow fever”, etc.) and / or unhappy with their situation back home. When I decided to go live in Japan for two years, I was extremely bored by my home country and was looking for a break in a completely different setting. Yet, I wouldn’t have gone there if my company didn’t have a job for me there. In a way, it was a worthwhile thing to do because I now see “the Western world” with very different eyes – there are problems, but at least it’s not Japan. It really rekindled my respect for Western achievements such as enlightenment, and dare I say, the French Revolution.
@Dude, re: Japanese cars –
I come from a part of the US where there are many car factories – not all of them are Japanese, but many are. Car factories in general are an essential part of my region’s economy, and the Japanese factories are no exception.
The funny thing about Japanese cars, is that a lot of people don’t see them as Japanese. They aren’t made in Japan, after all. They were made down the road by Cousin Steve and his friend Billy-Bob.
I don’t know. I’ve never known anyone to see a Toyota or Honda as “foreign” cars. They’re built around my city, after all.
I mean, that doesn’t take away from your point – I agree with you completely. But I just think it’s an important point to bear in mind: Japan Inc. relies very much on foreigner workers, foreign infrastructure, foreign markets.
Hm…come to think of it, the TPP is the real way to put pressure on Japan Inc. No one’s going to boycott Japanese products, but if world governments put pressure on those overseas Japanese factories – that foreign money is absolutely essential to the wellbeing of Japan Inc., and while the common citizen may not realize how much Japan relies on foreigners, the people on the top certainly do.
I’d like to hear their arguments for this, but they have none.
It’s transparantly spiteful and designed to generate publicity and keep their poison in the discourse.
Ishihara’s egotistical and narcissistic need to poison situations with his particularly vile brand of chauvinism has already cost Japan and Asia an incredible price.
His moves to buy the Senkaku, a deliberately provocative and reckless abandonment of the shelving policy that forced Noda to “nationalize” them succeeded in its aim, provoking China, leading to further instability and mistrust. He simply wanted to provoke the Chinese and therefore provoke Japanese rearmament and he succeeded.
In what I hope is one one of his near-final domestic actions (I’m hoping he just gets too frail or goes bokke soon), he seizes the chance to do what Japan always does, turn the dial back to zero. Rights? No. Gaijin are gaijin and no matter how long they live here, they are outsiders, to be treated as such and that’s that.
There are very few people outside of outright neo-Nazis who self-consciously revel in being so vile.
yet more postmodern, postwar rebranding of Japan here:
1. Neo Nazis-above. Check this out http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/09/neo-nazi-photos-pose-headache-for-shinzo-abe
but its is in fact NAZI-nothing Neo about it, its the National Socialist Workers PArty and a complete fail for Abe here.
2. Japanese cars rebranded as “American”- Thatcher tried the same thing with Japanese cars built in the UK winning the European car of the year award as it used British parts (lame).
3. Ishihara going bokke- I thought he already was!
“When I decided to go live in Japan for two years, I was extremely bored by my home country and was looking for a break in a completely different setting. Yet, I wouldn’t have gone there if my company didn’t have a job for me there. In a way, it was a worthwhile thing to do because I now see “the Western world” with very different eyes – there are problems, but at least it’s not Japan. It really rekindled my respect for Western achievements such as enlightenment, and dare I say, the French Revolution.”
As for the bill, I don’t think it will pass. It is too openly discriminatory. They prefer to keep unwritten rules and vagueness that isn’t easily apparent to outsiders. If anything, the bill will not pass and be used as an example how politicians have taken anti-discriminatory measures by preventing the bill.
— I think you’re quite right.
No matter what we point out, no matter if Japanese citizens abroad have a red carpet, here in Japan foreigners “we are different” as I was warned by senior officer at my Shiaksho (main city officer) 8 years later I am here (finally she stated “your rights are different to us.”)
The only possible way to lessen foreigners to be damaged by this is to make it crystal clear “abroad”: “Coming into the “JP dream” is going to to put yourself into the Japanese foreigners apartheid.”
We GAIJIN are just apart-hood for Japanese, no matter how many complaints or criticism we try to stand, (even naturalized ones) is impossible…
8. Jim – thanks for the link. Very informative. And yes, more stories in various press will be a big help.
10. Chester – Your comments are valid. But while you view cars made by Americans as “American”, Japanese people have a totally different point of view. Those are “Japanese” cars assembled by cheap labor. If Ford made a factory in Gunma, the Japanese workers (and consumers) would all agree they are building “foreign” cars.
If Japanese cars (made in America) were not available, consumers would buy something in its place, maybe even an American car.
But you don’t have to only think of cars. My personal boycott includes all Japanese products – small and large.
All of us really need to understand how our purchases affect the entire world. For example: Gays and Lesbians, buying middle east oil, are supporting people who kill people for being gay or lesbian. They are enabling their oppressors.
Don’t enable your oppressor. If a group denies you the right to live, breath, make a living, or to be treated fairly – stop giving them your money. At least this will slow them down. At best it might make them rethink their actions.
13. Mariko – I am not so sure. I think the larger mindset among average Japanese people is that “foreigners” are taking advantage of Japan’s generosity. If it passes, we will have evidence of how people really see things.
I’ve mentioned this in previous posts: I have heard far too many young Japanese (age 12 – 24) casually express their hate for all things Chinese. When I ask why, I get the same general answers – Chinese people steal, they are dirty, low class, oh yeah – and they hate Japanese people! But none have any personal examples to draw from – they hate Chinese people because of Japanese news reports. I suspect that many Japanese people accept anti-Chinese stories as factual and true. If supporters of this bill can frame the issue as denying support to Chinese people who are trying to take advantage of Japan – I think it will pass.
“Those are “Japanese” cars assembled by cheap labor.”
Right, and I’ve had students say, you know, “Japan is famous for cars.” And they say it without any acknowledgement of the fact that those cars Japan is “famous for” are often not even made by Japanese people. When I was a kid, we were taught to some degree to understand and respect that our products were made by foreign labor. It was never seen as a “good” thing, and something to even be ashamed of as a country. My students were utterly shocked to hear that there are Japanese car factories in other countries. No one has taught them to say “Thank you” to American labor.
Which makes me sad, because Americans back home making those cars and creating profit for the Japanese rich elite have no idea that the Japanese people as a whole feel no gratitude, let alone a sense of connectedness, with them. You’re right; Japanese car factories in America are nothing more than “cheap labor” to most people. Honda, Toyota – they do nothing whatsoever here in Japan to inculcate a sense of gratitude and connection between Japanese people and the non-Japanese who make their cars. It’s nothing but, “Japanese gijutsu, Nippon no sugosa.”
Which, hey, brings us back to the topic at hand: people in the Japanese government want to make this relationship with foreigners official: we get to pay for their elderly and indigent – and in return, we get nothing. Not even a “Thank you.” Even more ironic, since I saw a quote from Abe the other day saying he literally wanted foreigners to come “fix the economy” and then go home!
So, yeah. Japan Inc.: Foreigners can make all their products, and they’ll take complete credit for it. Foreigners can “fix” their economy, and get nothing whatsoever in return.
@ Dude #15,
Indeed. I’m personally sick of the work “hannichi” (反日) and the way it is bandied about in the Japanese media. Why refuse welfare to Chinese nationals? Because they are “hannichi”. Toughen up on naturalization procedures? Yep, because those Zainichi Koreans are “hannichi”.
What Japan needs is some new vocabulary, mostly “hanchu” (反中), “hankan” (反韓) and “hancho” (反朝), and the willingness to label people just as readily.
— Given the existence of “kenkan” 嫌韓 (hate Korea), I have the feeling that even if those words did exist (they probably do already, in circles), they would be adopted with pride by those you’re trying to stigmatize.
@ Dude, #14
‘But none have any personal examples to draw from – they hate Chinese people because of Japanese news reports.’
True. And the real danger in that, is that is exactly for they were led so easily into genocide in the past, according to one eye-witness.
I’ve found that the gears in some people’s heads start turning when you play different ideas of nation against each other. ‘Hannichi’ generally indicates a lack of deference to a few right-wing organizations like the imperial household, LDP government, or zaibatsu capital. But insofar as Japan-as-nation really exists, it is much larger entity which contains of all the people and ideologies within its territorial borders. Why should hannichi only be based on of the former? Isn’t someone who opposes the Japanese Communist Party, Nikkyoso, Sokka Gakkai, Dowa groups or other right-wing bugbears ultimately just as hannichi?
Are you hannichi if you as a Japanese person dislike another Japanese person? Are you hannichi for riding a private rail line rather than JR (the former national railway)? What if you dislike the Shogunate? What if you dislike 在日外国人 (“Japanese” foreigners, i.e. foreigners in Japan)? There are people who answer these questions unironically, but more will pause to reconsider how they use the word.
Ooh, let’s start defining Hideki Tojo as “hannichi,” since, after all, he personally caused, directly and indirectly, what? The death of more Japanese citizens than any other man in history?
Which, in a way, isn’t that the theme of all the recent Japanese war movies? Eien no Zero? Oh, the kamikaze pilots are poor, tortured souls, tasked with sacrificing their lives – but they don’t really want to! The Japanese soldiers were just doing their duty! They were innocent souls! Pure and innocent! And who defiled them? Tojo is the true villain of Eien no Zero, isn’t he? “Hannichi!”
Or Chiisai no O-Uchi (which I admittedly know very little about)? Who caused the characters in that movie to suffer so? Why, the Japanese government! “Hannichi!”
Or how about that scene in Always Sanchome, where the war veteran has a drink with his war buddy – but is, in fact, having a PTSD-induced hallucination, and breaks down crying as his wife looks on? Oh my gosh, so “Hannichi!”
There’s a quite clear theme in Japanese movies and culture that the common Japanese people were also victims of the war. Wait. Isn’t that “hannichi,” though? Hyakuta is “hannichi” too?
I mean, we always think of these people as frothing-at-the-mouth nationalists (and Hyakuta really is), but really all these movies are talking about how awful Japan’s government was to the people and how they are victims of themselves!
Well…of course…that’s the thing about bigots – they don’t think. One cultural universal – perhaps the only cultural universal – is the simple fact that racists are always, always extremely stupid people. People like Hyakuta will never understand the irony and hypocrisy of their beliefs.
But, oh, yeah, I really see what kind of fun we can have with that word, can’t we? “Oh, man, Hyakuta is so ‘hannichi’! I’m going to boycott his movie for bashing Japan!”