Arimura Haruko, Minister for the Empowerment of Women: Immigration is a “Pandora’s Box”, offers weird Team Abe arguments to justify


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Hi Blog.  Now let’s get to the narrative by Team Abe on immigration.  Despite calling for the expansion of the officially-sanctioned system of often-slavery that the “Trainee” Program constitutes (even cynically saying that we need cheap temporary foreign labor for constructing the 2020 Olympics), and the recognized need for caregivers below, we have a government official below charged with empowering people (a worthy goal in itself) also advocating the disempowerment of others — not giving people who would be contributing to Japan any stake in its society.


That’s one thing.  Another is how this Minister for the Empowerment of Women Arimura Haruko is justifying this organized disenfranchisement of NJ.  Despite being married to a NJ herself, she uses him as a fulcrum (his family in Malaysia forcing their Indonesian nanny to sleep on the floor), alleging that mistreatment of immigrants is something that naturally happens (okay, without their proper enfranchisement, yes) and that it would be “unthinkable in Japan” (oh, is she as a government official ignorant of the much bigger abuses of that “Trainee” program that have been going on for more than two decades)?

Completing the effect of working backwards from preset conclusions, Arimura then brings the song home by blaming foreigners for their own disenfranchisement:  alleging their terroristic tendencies (a common trope for the past decade since PM Koizumi in 2005), and how bringing them here would be a “Pandora’s Box”.

Suck on the bitter lozenge that is Team Abe’s world view, and read on to see how this probably otherwise well-intentioned minister married to a NJ has to play Twister with illogic and weird social science to justify a warped narrative.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


Japan Cabinet minister wary of opening ‘Pandora’s box’ of immigration
by Isabel Reynolds and Maiko Takahashi
Bloomberg, May 12, 2015
Commentary by the usual suspects at The Japan Times May 13, 2015 at

Japan should fix its shrinking workforce by enabling women to work, before turning to the ‘Pandora’s box’ of immigration, the country’s minister for the empowerment of women said in an interview last week.

Haruko Arimura, a 44-year-old mother of two, said Japan must act fast to change a trend that could otherwise see the workforce decline by almost half by 2060. But she warned if immigrants were mistreated — something she’d witnessed overseas — it raised the risk of creating resentment in their ranks.

“Many developed countries have experienced immigration,” she said in her Tokyo office. “The world has been shaken by immigrants who come into contact with extremist thinking like that of ISIL, bundle themselves in explosives and kill people indiscriminately in the country where they were brought up,” Arimura said.

“If we want to preserve the character of the country and pass it on to our children and grandchildren in better shape, there are reforms we need to carry out now to protect those values.”

Some economists have urged the government to accept more foreigners to make up for a slide in the working age population. While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has noted there is a need for workers from overseas to help with housework and care of the elderly, he’s promoted female workers instead — appointing Arimura to the new post last year to spearhead the effort.

Arimura, whose husband is from Malaysia, said more immigration could add to social tension. For example, she felt uneasy when she saw one of her husband’s relatives make an Indonesian nanny sleep on a hotel floor while family members slept in beds.

“It’s a matter of course over there, but it would be unthinkable in Japan,” she said. “It would build up dissatisfaction with society.”

Few Foreigners
Japan’s working-age population may fall as low as 44.2 million by 2060 from 81.7 million in 2010, according to a projections from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. At the same time, people aged 65 or over will rise to almost 40 percent of the population.

Relying only on women to make up the shortfall may be difficult, given that one in three wants to be a full-time housewife, according to a survey published by the government in 2013. About 60 percent leave their jobs when they have their first child.

Increased immigration poses its own challenges in Japan. Cultural barriers to outsiders are rooted in a two-century isolationist policy under the Tokugawa Shogunate, which banned most immigration until 1853. A genre of writing called nihonjinron focuses on the theory that the Japanese are a unique people.

The number of registered foreign residents has been flat since 2006 at just over 2 million. That’s out of a population of about 127 million.

‘Precious’ Lifestyles
Public attitudes toward new arrivals may be changing. About 51 percent of Japanese support a more open immigration policy, according to a survey published by the Asahi newspaper last month. Some 34 percent oppose the idea.

“There are things we should do before we talk about that Pandora’s box,” Arimura said.
Her task is to convince voters that putting more women to work is the best solution. She said she realized the policy could cause confusion among backers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party given its past support for traditional family arrangements.

The government has no intention of interfering with the “precious” lifestyles of women who want to devote themselves to their families, Arimura said. Instead, she said it wanted to support those who might otherwise be forced to abandon careers because of family responsibilities, or who wish to resume working after raising children.

Female Managers
Arimura described as “a good start” a new draft bill obliging employers with more than 300 staff to publish gender breakdown statistics and plans to promote women. While non-compliance carries no penalty, she said the legislation would give a picture of how women are faring at work and pointers on the problems they face.

While Abe wants women to fill 30 percent of management positions by 2020, he faces an uphill task. Women accounted for just over 8 percent of management positions in private-sector companies employing more than 100 people last year, according to government data.

“In terms of tackling the low birth rate and promoting women, the next five or 10 years will decide the trend for Japan, whether it goes up or down,” Arimura said. “In a way, it’s the last chance.”


15 comments on “Arimura Haruko, Minister for the Empowerment of Women: Immigration is a “Pandora’s Box”, offers weird Team Abe arguments to justify

  • “The world has been shaken by immigrants who come into contact with extremist thinking like that of ISIL, bundle themselves in explosives and kill people indiscriminately in the country where they were brought up,” Arimura said.

    Well, that’s an exiting speech! But I wonder what the numbers are on such murders? No statistics. It’s like saying Japan can’t import cars because the gas tanks are like bombs prepped to rip apart innocent Japanese children…
    She’s using fear-mongering, twisted logic to prove to her ilk what they already believe. Brainwash. Drink the koolaid, take the ride.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    These people are clearly incompetent.
    It’s one thing to distort reality to justify distorted right-wing world views, but when most Japanese politicians open thier mouths, they demonstrate that they have a world view of the level of sophistication of an elementary school student.
    Japanese education system really must do better!
    Japanese voters need to stop handing power to these imbeciles under the guise of ‘apathy’, which is a cloak to disguise thier abdication of responsibility.
    Congress should stop giving standing ovations to the ring-master. It only encourages him (his wife went to Yasukuni this week).

    Unfortunately, before Japanese voters demand better politicians, things will have to get much worse, and all of the unaddressed structural problems in Japan will have to cause Japanese voters real pain. And you can guarantee that when Japanese start to feel the hurt, NJ will have been feeling it longer and harder already.

    • Sadly, I have to agree.
      But MOST maids in Malaysia have their own rooms and beds. Eyewitness here.

  • [Arimura, whose husband is from Malaysia, said more immigration could add to social tension. For example, she felt uneasy when she saw one of her husband’s relatives make an Indonesian nanny sleep on a hotel floor while family members slept in beds. “It’s a matter of course over there, but it would be unthinkable in Japan,” she said. “It would build up dissatisfaction with society.”]

    Geez, I hope this inane sort of “anecdotal reasoning” is not endemic in Japan. Same with the Sono thing (“Immigration in Japan would be a bad idea, because… uh, some decades ago a black family moved in a neighborhood and uh, the property values really went down”). Again, I’m trying to parse this facile argument, and coming up short. So uh, Malaysians treat their immigrants badly, which builds animosity, therefore Japan shouldn’t let immigrants in, why exactly ? Because Japan will treat them the same way ?! Well, how about don’t. Geez, just don’t make them sleep on the floor, for a start.

    Is this ISIS thing now being an actual serious talking point that’s used in this debate? Am I gonna have to start a drinking game about it ?
    [“But she warned if immigrants were mistreated — something she’d witnessed overseas — it raised the risk of creating resentment in their ranks.”]
    I think I’m missing something, because the obvious next sentence should be “therefore we should be sure to treat them equitably and make their contributions valued, so we won’t have these problems”. Or am I too generous about their thought process, and it’s rather “that’s why we shouldn’t let them in, because what’s the point of having immigrants if you can’t lord over them as you will.” The next talk about [“protecting japanese values”] (against whom, those very same foreigners?) does not lend itself to a very optimistic interpretation on this matter.

    Hell, I even agree that there are “problems” with foreigners and immigration in other developed countries, but that should be a reason to do it better instead of not doing it at all, learn from the mistakes and try not to install a permanent underclass of disenfranchised shitjobbers and try to “control” them by putting them in ghettos where unrest inevitably ferments. But, looking at the “trainee” programs, it seems like Japan is hellbent on repeating those same mistakes and doubling down on them. Construction workers, maids and nurses, huh, sounds great… (I guess attracting those thousands of “high class” NJs aren’t a priority anymore now?). BTW, at least one of those jobs (construction) definetly can’t be filled by native females, so they’ll have to import foreign labor for that. Great, just hope they don’t go to Qatar or the Emirates for tips and pointers on that particular.

    Also, what’s the deal with protecting the “precious” housewife lifestyle ? Venerating it up like it is some sacred eternal japanese thing, even ? Just ignoring that it’s at odds with the other end of your policies (putting more women to work), it’s highly ahistorical at best (I see this mistake made often in other countries as well): The “housewife” thing is a rather recent, short abberation because for most of recorded history women worked, most people at all were farmers, so unless you were of the 5% noble class and could afford to sit on your ass all day being pretty, a woman was just as expected as a man to work in the fields and all that stuff. Only a particular set of economic parameters, after the second world war, made the modern “stay home” housewife arrangement really possible (most people forget that and think it’s always been there, even that it’s the “natural” order of things and other evopsych bullshit), which is highly dependent on the existence of a (male) breadwinner with sufficient income to make this possible (and even then it was not even the reality for most of the people, just enough for the middle-high people to shape the culture, but the lower people still all had to work). We can talk about the whys and hows of how that came to be and how it came to an end (hint: it’s the breadwinner jobs that aren’t there anymore in enough quantity), but the fact is more and more women are simply “forced” to work again by a harder and harder economic reality (going full circle back to the farmer days, in a way). Hell, if you talk to most of these women, they’ll tell you straight up they have to work, not because of some empowerment or self-actualization feelgood PR bullshit, but they simply can’t “afford” to miss out on that additional income.

    Also, what irks me about these “promotion schemes” that start at the TOP of the social pyramid (like mandating that X% of corporate board members must be female, etc) is that they always focus on the most rich, most educated, most connected, most empowered women first (so, exactly those who need that “empowerment” already the least), while ignoring the reality that for most women the important issues are much more lower-class and precarious concerns than “not getting into the board room” (hell, most people in general aren’t). They are trapped in the low-wage, dead-end part-time treadmill and it would do the general population much more good if you instituted a policy of same pay for same work… which is exactly what those executive assholes in the board room are against and profit from, but geez girls see now at least we have some female execs as well, so problem solved, am I right ?
    Oh yeah, and while all this class shit is going on, you’re getting shafted from all sides left right and center, you’re also still supposed to pump out, care for and pay for even more kids ? Good luck with that, Japan.

  • Richard Solomon says:

    Admittedly, a few immigrants can/have caused havoc in some countries. Does this mean any and all immigration should be prevented?!?

    No, it means that the country receiving these immigrants has to do more to help them assimilate into the society. Better language training, better job training, more ongoing support, etc will greatly reduce the chances that an immigrant will become ‘radicalized.’ Witness what Germany has done with its largely Muslim/Turkish immigrants to see how a society can dramatically improve their fortunes in a new country. It is not perfect in Germany but it is much better than in other European countries.

    Japan would not be totally immune from these risks. But then it is not immune from its own home grown terrorists as well.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Don’t be surprised. It’s common character of ABEARSON Inc. Double-talking and illusional thinking are two essential skills that attribute to these national (de)formers. Her ignorance of women’s devastating situation in patriarchal society and painting of immigrants in the contexts of terrorists well illustrate Team ABE’s delusional mentality that draws Japan like a chocolate cake house floated on a cotton candy cloud.

  • — Consider Arimura’s pedigree:

    Haruko Arimura (有村 治子 Arimura Haruko?, born 1970) is a Japanese politician of the Liberal Democratic Party, a member of the House of Councillors in the Diet (national legislature). A native of Ishikawa Prefecture, she attended the International Christian University in Mitaka, Tokyo and received a master’s degree from School for International Training in Vermont, United States and a Ph.D in international business from Aoyama Gakuin University. She was elected for the first time in 2001. She is affiliated to the openly revisionist organization Nippon Kaigi.[1]有村治子

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Interesting points all, especially Dr. Debito #6

    She can’t plead ignorance through insularity since she has lived abroad.

    I initially posited that her rational for playing up the NJ threat myth was to provide a strawman that would represent to LDP O-yajis a greater threat than that of women working (after all, she is the ‘Minister for Women’).

    But I want to change my accusation.

    I think she isn’t acting with even the noble goal of empowering women in Japanese society. I think that this is just a simple case of bullying.
    She’s a woman, and in Japanese society, women are lower on the social hierarchy. Now, she can probably bully her husband since he is NJ, but as a Japanese women, the only social group lower on the hierarchy than her is NJ. So she is bullying them. Because that’s what being bullied has taught her. Vertical relationships. Sempai, kohai. The right to bully those beneath you.

  • She went to SIT, that liberal bastion in Vermont? She probably did not learn anything, except English.
    I guess it looks good on her resume, that’s all.

    One thing I don’t get is often these articles mention something that people don’t like, but instead say it “causes confusion”. I remember that was why Japan could not adopt Daylight Savings Time, since it would cause confusion for the mere 5% of the population that farms or fishes.
    This country is for the old, of the old, and by the old.

    — On a similar note, I remember on NHK many moons back seeing a report on electric cars, and they were saying that they were unsafe because they were so quiet when in motion that blind people wouldn’t be able to hear them and would walk out in front of them. Therefore… they were unsafe. NHK has only gotten sillier since.

  • A Japanese online nut pretends to be Korean, posting threatening letters against the royal princess Kako, to cause anti Korean feelings in Japan – which worked by the way. He was caught by the police, and it turned out to be a pure 100% Japanese. But the Japanese public are still convinced that the perp is Korean, convinced that real Japanese would never do such a thing. Disgusting display of xenophobia and hate mongering:

  • [” I remember on NHK many moons back seeing a report on electric cars, and they were saying that they were unsafe because they were so quiet when in motion that blind people wouldn’t be able to hear them and would walk out in front of them. Therefore… they were unsafe.”]

    off-topic, but fwiw this is indeed an actual talking point that’s being seriously discussed all over the world, too. At least I know of here in regulation-happy Germany (where no problem can’t be solved through enough ORDNUNG) there are whole committees tasked with determining how loud an E-car should be (because muh children/seniors/anyone who can’t be arsed to actually pay attention in traffic could be hurt by one of those silent killer machines) BUT also not too loud (because muh noise pollution ordinances, muh peaceful sunday quiet). Given the way these things usually turn out, they probably demand the cars should produce a constant wet farting sound, which is about par for my thoughts on this whole debate.
    I have no idea how silly NHK is, but for reference it can’t be much sillier than american “Could your toaster be killing your kids? Stay tuned to find out!” scaremongering TV… then again Japan was indeed the only country I’ve ever been so far that actually had a constant PSA safety announcement playing on a goddamn ESCALATOR (death traps, indeed) so there’s that.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Dr. Debito #8

    Yeah, I remember that, but look how such criticism has disappeared now that Japan is a world leader in the field and wants to make this a world standard.
    What about all the government subsidies to Toyota to make and sell hydrogen fuel cell cars- another racket.
    And of course, there is Nissan which believes it will be selling a self-driving car in time for the Olympics, and has Abe’s endorsement as an example of Japan being a world leader, although he doesn’t seem to know that Nissan is owned by Renault, much the same as how he didn’t know that Softbanks Pepper robot was designed and built by a French company Son bought.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Clearly, following her outburst, her LDP sempai have decided that Arimura has too much time on her hands, and given her extra responsibility- ‘Minister of Toilets’.

    I would love to give her a hard time about it, but despite the fact that she’s a racist, I’m not a misogynist, and I think it’s kind of old fashioned and backwards of the LDP to give the job of cleaning the nations toilets to a woman.

    So, I’m going to reverse my original reversal of opinion, and suggest that the article that tops this thread, and the article I’m linking here are just the public fallout of a private battle;

    1. The ‘Woman’s Minister’ tries to push LDP sempai into a corner by effectively saying ‘If you don’t change your ways and empower women, we’ll have to accept all those dangerous gaijin, won’t we?’.

    2. The LDP sempai don’t like being blackmailed, know that the ‘dangerous gaijin’ myth is just a myth they created, and aren’t about to take womanomics beyond Abe’s hot air. So, they give her the massive slapdown of making her ‘Minister for toilets’. A kind of ‘know your place woman’, for the ‘Woman’s Minister’.


    Minister of Toilets’ aims to transform Japan’s public loos
    KUCHIKOMI MAY. 26, 2015 – 06:00AM JST ( 30 )
    ‘Minister of Toilets’ aims to transform Japan’s public loos
    TOKYO —
    When tourists from China visit Japan and go on wild spending binges, the term describing their behavior is “bakukai,” literally “explosion purchasing.” But not only is Japan regarded as a shopping Mecca; Shukan Shincho (May 28) reports that visitors from China are also mightily impressed by Japan’s lavatory facilities. Not only are those warm-water bidets a nice thing to have, Chinese visitors gush enthusiastically, but Japan’s toilet tissue is also soooo soft.

    The Japanese government nevertheless feels that there’s still room for improvement, and is planning to devote more attention to the beautification of public sanitary facilities. To this, er, end, LDP upper house member Haruko Arimura, who serves in the cabinet as Minister in Charge of Women’s Empowerment and a number of other posts, may also soon be adding the unofficial title, “Minister of Toilets.”

    Of course, it’s not only Chinese who have been raving over the washlets. None other than Hollywood actor Will Smith (“Independence Day”) praised them to the media, remarking “They’re paper free. Wherever you sit on the toilet, somehow it hits the bull’s eye perfectly. It cleans and then dries you. It is just water and then air.”

    Last October, Arimura was appointed by the cabinet to head the special task force entrusted with transforming Japan into a “society in which all women shine.” One of the three subcommittees of the newly formed task force was entrusted with “considering the toilet problem.”

    Architect Akito Yokoyama, a member of the subcommittee, told Shukan Shincho, “At our first meeting Ms Arimura explained why she wanted to take up the matter of toilets. ‘Women,’ she said, ‘are unable to bring themselves to enter filthy toilets in public parks. To enable women who work outside the home to thrive, it’s necessary to improve the environment in public toilets.’

    “Ms Arimura intends to summon various experts on toilets to the subcommittee meetings,” Yokoyama continued, “She said to us, ‘I don’t mind if you call me Minister of Toilets; I want to fix up public lavatories.’ She’s really on a roll.”

    As concrete examples of the kind of improvements Arimura is considering, Yokoyama mentioned such ideas as “to invite corporate sponsors to post advertisements on the walls, with the revenues going toward maintenance of the facilities. Or with the notion of improved safety in mind, making it so the toilets attached to police koban are accessible to anybody.

    “These are the kinds of ideas that could only come from females,” he said. “Ms Arimura is to be praised for her foresight. Not only is she saying that it’s good to make them comfortable, clean and safe, she’s seeking to transform toilets into a ‘space in which a person can feel serenity.’ Now we’re considering incentives like awarding the ‘Toilet Grand Prix’ to the best facilities.”

    The subcommittee expects to complete its guidelines by the end of May, after which the involved ministries and agencies will make adjustments before the details are worked into the government’s budget for the coming fiscal year.

    “Starting with Yuko Obuchi, female politicians have been involved in a seemingly endless string of scandals of late,” notes political analyst Atsuo Ito. “But Ms Arimura seems to be pretty solid. She hasn’t proposed any noteworthy policies up to now, but as a way of making herself stand out, dealing with the problems of toilets may be a good idea, as anyone will be able to see the results. By the same token, some time ago former Environment Minister Yuriko Koike was successful in overseeing the ‘Cool Japan’ concept.

    “So perhaps this time Ms Arimura will become associated with the ‘Toilet reformation,’” said Ito.

    Shukan Shincho’s writer concludes with a lowbrow pun. “I guess we can say Ms Arimura is staking her ‘fate as a politician’ (‘seijika no un’) on becoming the ‘Minister of Toilets,’” he writes. In Japanese the word for “fate,” pronounced “un,” is a homonym for bowel movement.

  • j_jobseeker says:

    I never really understood Arimura’s role other than to appeal to the women’s vote, as is this whole “more women in the workplace” flag Abe’s waving around, especially since he himself doesn’t believe in it. The fact you have to create a new Minister for it points to larger problems as a whole. But when I hear her talk, she seems so out of touch with the regular middle and working class mother–being chauffeured around in a car wearing fancy clothes and jewelry. Now I see that she’s nothing more than a shill for Abeism. It’s a shame really given her background, but let’s face it, Abe doesn’t select doers, he opts for “yes men” or in this case a “yes woman”–people who’ll tow the party line which only means she really won’t accomplish much for women.

  • Mr_Alex123455679 says:

    Does the LDP in Japan basically want Japanese people to age to a degree where the ratio of elderly vs young will tip the tables?

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