TV “Economist” Mitsuhashi Takaaki on foreign labor in Japan: “80% of Chinese in Japan are spies”: “foreigners will destroy Japanese culture”


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Hi Blog. Let’s get right to it with a post from Reader AG:
Date: June 12, 2016
From: AG
Dear Debito:

There is a lot of discussion about immigration and work in Japan. There is a video showing a so called economist ranting and spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) about why allowing immigration into Japan is a bad idea. Perhaps you would like to see into it and share it with your community at I support your site in many ways and I appreciate your insight and many matters that are wrong in Japan. I understand that your bottom line is to try to make a positive change in life.

Here’s the video:

Sincerely, AG

COMMENT: The above video about Mitsuhashi Takaaki, a commentator, writer, TV personality, seminarist (juku), failed LDP candidate, and blogger about things he considers to be politics and economics, shows how normalized bigotry is in Japan — to the point of silliness.

Once you get past the stupid tic he has with pushing up his eyeglasses (redolent of aspiring Hollywood wannabes of the 1910s-1930s who thought their cute catchphrase, gesture, or sneeze would fuel an entire career), you realize what he’s enabling: Japanese media to espouse xenophobia.

In the video, where he’s critical of PM Abe’s policies (ignorantly portraying Abe as a proponent of importing foreign labor in order to undercut Japanese workers’ salaries), he goes beyond economics and into bigotry:  about Chinese (depicted as invading hordes with queue hairstyles, where he claims that “80% are spies” [source, please?]) and foreigners in general (they will “destroy Japanese culture”).  The research gets so sloppy that it reaches the point of silliness (at minute 0:30 they even misspelled TPP as “Trance Pacific Partnership”).  Watch the video yourself, but not as a lunch digestion aid.

In the end, Mitsuhashi is just an IT dork relishing his time in the sun, riding a patriotic wave while dividing, “othering”, and bullying minorities for his own financial gain.

Again, it’s one more indication that the long-awaited next generation of “more liberal Japanese” will be just as narrow-minded as the previous one (if not even more so, since they have no memory of the wartime excesses their embedded racism led to generations ago).  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


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17 comments on “TV “Economist” Mitsuhashi Takaaki on foreign labor in Japan: “80% of Chinese in Japan are spies”: “foreigners will destroy Japanese culture”

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Shouldn’t this guy get arrested for this? It’s hate speech!

    No, wait, my mistake, ‘this is Japan’ so;

    1. Right-wingers freedom to hate trumps protecting minority victims every time, and…
    2. Japan’s hate-speech laws don’t actually carry any penalties, hence….
    3. Right-wingers are free to hate, lie, intimidate, and bully in Japan.

    Nice society they got here, isn’t it?

  • I don’t see it personally, apart from the silliness about a high percentage of Chinese workers being spies.

    His main points are

    1. An influx of unskilled foreign labor will suppress domestic wages, is a valid argument being played out this very day in the UK and has been playing out in the developed world for the last 10-15 years. To label everyone with such concerns as a bigot and a racist seems Stalinist. This is a very valid concern in the early 21st century.

    2. The real benefactors of the unhindered movement of labor will be big business and not the country as a whole. Who can argue with that?

    3. The illusion that a change in Japanese work visas for non-Japanese will attract skilled workers from more ‘palatable’ nation states, something the government is promoting to make labor migration more attractive to the Japanese populace, is exactly that, an illusion. As many of us comment on here Japan is not a particularly attractive place for in-demand skilled labor to migrate to. The majority of labor that has entered Japan comes from underdeveloped economies and is unskilled labor.

    Of course there are problems in Japan with attitudes to migrants, just like there are in the UK and USA. However this video makes valid points that have to be addressed and to just see it as the rants of a bigot is a bit one dimensional.

    Obviously the arguments could have been put forward better.

    — Yes, and that’s my point here. It’s one thing to argue that people are being hurt by economic policies that, for example, hold wages artificially low. Okay. But amongst that comes Mitsuhashi’s televised nastiness of blaming foreigners for this situation (as opposed to blaming those who exploit the foreigners, who just happen to be Japanese), e.g., about Chinese mostly being spies (which you mention) and that foreigners will destroy Japanese culture (which you somehow missed, even though it’s part of the title of this blog entry). Mitsuhashi’s cheap shots taken at a disenfranchised minority for the purposes of fear mongering and personal profiteering are the focus of this blog entry. If you “don’t see it personally”, you’re once again not really reading what I wrote very carefully.

  • Onceagaijin,alwaysagaijin says:

    To be fair, the program did rate his bile as 79-something percent poisonous.

    But the fact is that it doesn’t beggar belief that someone can come out publicly with such hate speech, is doubly sad and very worrying.

    Things like this rip off the mask of “omotenashi,” which is problematical itself (projecting a false face for the gaijin to take their money when they are only very welcome on the understanding that they drop their money and fuck off home), to show the real ugly reality of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination in Japan.

    – He’s not even talking about immigration. Even importing revolving-door exploitable labor is too much for him.

    The basics are still there: the childish inferiority-superiority racism, with the handsome whiteys and the chinky coolies.
    Unfortunately, we we ask which planet this asshole is on, we get the answer: “Planet Nippon.”

    Unless people can get beyond this nasty drivel, what hope is there?

    The first thing of course would be legislation with enforceable clauses to punish racism and discrimination.
    But that can’t happen.
    Because the default mode is that Japanese aren’t really racist: they are just protecting their unique (and divinely ruled) culture to stop them being victimized by the big bad world of gaijin.

    If he really actually believes his arguments, then he’s an extremely nasty and sad person, as well as, as proven by this clip, a manipulative self-seeking demagogue.

  • Buadrillard says:

    “Stupid tic” and “Dork”-yes, indeed.Personal insults ARE justified in this case, as his hate filled message is just a result of his own social inadequacies.

    Its tragic the new generation of Japan still produce nasty specimens like this one.

    The silver lining is that this IT guy’s whole “More Right Wing than Thou” schtick targets Abe and hopefully will eventually split the whole right wing.

    Whether or not the DPJ or some other opposition party can take advantage of this split remains to be seen.

  • Buadrillard says:

    @ Jim, yes this guy should be arrested as his “hate speech” is directed at Abe, and we know Sick Note just hates any kind of personal criticism.

    In short, this IT Dork is a right winger who doesnt know his place.

    A bit like a Red Guard who has gone to far, is now criticizing the upper echelons of government, and who will soon find himself purged.

  • Baudrillard says:

    “the silliness about a high percentage of Chinese workers being spies” unfortunately dumbs down the very relevant concern about big businesses relying on cheap labor to force down wages.

    Once again, some real concerns are hijacked by the racist Japanese Right, like how, e.g. the anti American base issue/real Japanese independence movement often turns into an anti Asian narrative that starts to look like the Greater East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere- with the notable exception of politicians Hatoyama or Yohei Kono and their more pro Asian perspectives now effectively sidelined.

  • What a minute. Has this guy been on BS Fuji’s show Prime News?
    It airs Monday through Friday from 8 to 10 p.m.
    The program that apparently is a respectable show on politics, showing different sides.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Some of his arguments against caveats of Abe’s economic policy are impressive, and I can give him some credit to them. Unfortunately, most of his credit is elusive like liquid asset, and it’s so easy to melt like an ice. It seems like he’s too busy to sell his image through media so that he can make ends meet by replenishing the losses he makes every time he throws his invective toward Chinese/Korea, which he himself admits it as his prejudice.

    It’s a typical scapegoating tactic many right-wingers/conservatives/Drumphanatic-like dorks love to use for empowerment of ‘pity me’ through invectives. Many of non-western NJ coming to Japan under work/visa scheme are taking over the jobs that will make little or no effect on the regular jobs possessed by Japanese employers–because of 1) 3D/3K stigma turning Japanese workers away; 2) loose coordination in the workforce/organization; and 3)lack of job security and high-turnout rates. And he loves to trash down on foreign elements for uncovering the dark side of Japanese labor problem??? Kind of neoliberal argument Thomas Friedman and David Brooks love to use.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #5

    ‘Sick Note’, ha! That’s a good one!

    Funnily enough, I was just recently talking with another Japan specialist who knows way more about these things than I just the other day, and he was speculating that a failure by the LDP to get a 2/3 majority in the up-coming upper house election would be fracture Abe’s right-wing support base between those who are (shall we say) ‘merely’ nationalistic chauvinists, and the hard-core ‘true believers’ of resurgent Japanese imperialism.

    As he told it, right-wing support would be split between those who are satisfied by Abe’s big talk, and those who are disappointed by his failure to deliver on his right-wing talk.

    This would see his popularity slip, leading to LDP vultures representing either camp seeking to oust him, neither camp being satisfied with a leader that would have anything like Abe’s marginally ‘wide appeal’, and usher in another decade of rotating door Prime Ministers.

    I live in hope…

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jim, kind of sad that a check on nationalistic revanchism is just that PMs rotate so quickly they dont have time to accumulate power, and that the right are divided between “everyday” trad reactionary/respectable (through age.seniority) right wing of lets say, Hindenburg vs. radical right young upstarts of e.g. Hitler. Sakurai, and this IT Nerd are all wannabe Hitlers.

    This reminds me with the Imperial Japanese split in opinion between those favoring an attack on The USSR and those favoring an attack on South East Asia via The Philippines.

    Another parallel is that in recent years China has had rotating PMs and de facto power division, but now Xi has accumulated power unprecedented since Deng or even Mao. And he is squaring off against Abe.

    A further parallel was a cause of the Yugoslav wars- prior to hardcore nationalists like Tudjman (Croatia) and Milosevic (Serbia) both coming to power at the same time, there was a rotating power sharing agreement in Yugoslavia.

    So Jim, i share your hope that a rotating PM in Japan is the best hope for peace- they just dont stay in office long enough to do anything rash.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    “A labour shortage will mean laborers’ wages will go up” because…?
    His economic theory sounds unsupportable. That’s without the venom.

    Just another thought. The producers and directors of the TV program – after all, they’re the ones creating and approving the animated Qing hordes – are complicit conspirators in this. (But let me guess – they had no idea that it might be racist or even offensive)

    Let’s just hope Mitsuhashi has to try to live out his life with no products made by Chinese labour.

  • I don’t really know. I just wanted to highlight how silly the 80% claim is. If 80% are spies, and this guy knows about it, then they must be terrible at spying.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    The other night there was guest commentator (sorry, I didn’t get her name) on an evening news program talking about how the U.K. “Leave” voters had been largely duped by spectres of immigration. She went on to talk about all the benefits of immigrants to the U.K. and how they don’t pose a real threat at all, etc.

    Where is she when the topic is Japan’s immigration policy and the effect on society?

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Dear readers, I want to briefly bring this thread back to life.
    Takaaki Mitsuhashi (48) fnot his real name, btw. Gee, don’t right-wingers always accuse Japanese who don’t use their real name of being Korean or Chinese spies? After all, this guys has made accusations of such in his videos, yet he isn’t even using his real name!) right-wing anti-immigration NJ fear-mongerer and racist, has landed himself in trouble for being caught on video subjecting his 18 (!) year old wife to domestic violence.

    Just wanted to show that all these J-right-wingers are recidivist and nasty in every way.
    Abe’s society in which ‘every woman can “shine” (死ね)’?

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jim, tangent but Debito might want to write a piece on the marriage/abuse aspect of that Mitsuhashi case. One wag compared this to Mika Mifune who dated Joji Takahashi (57) at age 13 and married at 16:
    -Typical Japanese divorce. Father loses and gets a pic of the kid. No visitations.
    -Moral Harassment? No such word in modern psychology. Yet another Japan “hara” fake word.
    -Divorce as a birthday present for her (dead) father is a strange thing to say after a divorce with no background information. The whole case sounds like a big expensive and judge-mediated barrel of substantiated claims. Rarely do decisions follow law or reason (in Japan).


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