DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 18, 2021

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 18, 2021
Table of Contents:
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1) Japan Times: J Govt’s pandemic border policy highlights their taking advantage of insecure legal status of foreign residents
2) “Tired Panda” on how rural tax authorities specialize in targeting foreign taxpayers for audit. And Japan aims to be Asia’s #1 financial hub? Hah.
3) “Educating the Non-Japanese Underclass”, my Shingetsu News Agency “Visible Minorities” Col 2, Sept 17, 2019, link to full text

… and finally…
4) My SNA Visible Minorities 17: NIKE JAPAN Advertisement on Japan’s Visible Minorities does some good (Dec 21, 2020)
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By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
Debito.org Newsletters are as always freely forwardable

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1) Japan Times: J Govt’s pandemic border policy highlights their taking advantage of insecure legal status of foreign residents

JT: Inequity between the treatment of Japanese and non-Japanese residents, including those with established residency status and decadeslong careers here, brought back to the surface long-standing frustrations over apparent struggles with multiculturalism in the nation, stirring debate on the status of foreign residents here and the extent of Japan’s preparedness for an influx of foreign workers that had been anticipated before the pandemic struck.

As questions linger over the government’s intentions behind the controversial rules, records and reports from behind the scenes of Japan’s fight against the pandemic have begun to emerge.

They highlight the limits of the nation’s immigration strategy, with decisions apparently made ad hoc amid chaos, and reveal the insecure status of foreign nationals in Japan and underlying discriminatory attitudes within society toward immigrants and expatriates…

http://www.debito.org/?p=16361

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2) “Tired Panda” on how rural tax authorities specialize in targeting foreign taxpayers for audit. And Japan aims to be Asia’s #1 financial hub? Hah.

In the wake of treating Non-Japanese Residents like they’re riddled with extra Covid contagion, here’s yet another example of how Non-Japanese taxpayers are treated with extra suspicion — with bored tax auditors even in the most rural areas of Japan dedicated to ferreting out rank-and-file sneaky foreigners’ assets and earnings socked away overseas. Courtesy of Debito.org Reader “Tired Panda”, edited and reproduced here with permission.

According to numerous sources, “Japan has explicitly stated its goal is to make Tokyo the number one financial city in Asia… Japanese officials see an opportunity to lure the Asian headquarters of global financial firms to Tokyo as Hong Kong struggles under new scrutiny from Beijing.” In a business climate like the one being described by “Tired Panda” below, who wound up giving up Permanent Residency status after being zapped by local tax authorities, this seems unlikely to happen in Japan.

Tired Panda: It started with my tax accountant in [Katainaka Prefecture], who I have used for several years, suddenly asking me to declare my worldly assets, including how many mountains I owned. Being unaware of any such requirement, I was stunned by this and resisted but my accountant said just roughly write it down and as long as it’s under 5,000,000 you’ll be OK. Just sign it.

The tax department audited me a couple of years ago covering a period of 5 years. They have two young recruits whose full-time job is to concentrate on foreigners. They speak no English. They produced figures suggesting I had been evading taxes over this time and the amount of tax payable. They would not say what shares or investments were the source of the income and I had no way of disputing any figures. I’m aware that tax losses can be carried over to offset gains but they would not recognize this for my foreign investments, saying something about a “blue paper”. I made a start on trying to track everything over the years, but gave up when it became evident that unless something was in the format they required, such as a statement from Monex Japan, they would not accept it. They also slapped a penalty on each of the year’s taxes, compounding over the five year period. It became obvious that it was futile and I paid a substantial amount.

I thought this was the end of that horrifically stressful saga and I would make sure to try and do everything required and account for everything down to the last cent. I decided to revoke my permanent residency as I can’t see myself living indefinitely in this country which is forever tightening the tax noose in an effort to pay for the aging population. With the sponsorship of my company and using the new points system I changed to “Highly Skilled Professional (i) (b)” status…

http://www.debito.org/?p=16373

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3) “Educating the Non-Japanese Underclass”, my Shingetsu News Agency “Visible Minorities” Col 2, Sept 17, 2019, link to full text

SNA — In a shocking series of exposés at the beginning of this month, the Mainichi Shinbun reported that minority children of workers in Japanese schools were being segregated from their Japanese peers, put in classes for the mentally disabled, and systematically denied an education.

For years now, according to Ministry of Education surveys, schools have subjected their non-native foreign minority students to IQ tests. The results were striking: Non-Japanese children were found to have “developmental disorders” at more than double the rate of the general Japanese student population.

Striking, but not all that surprising—since these tests assessed IQ via culturally-grounded questions, on things like Japanese shogunates and tanabata festivals. They also considered a lack of Japanese language skills an “intellectual” disability.

Let that sink in. Try claiming that your Japanese students are dim because they aren’t proficient in English, and then watch how long you remain an educator.

But here’s where the bad science turns evil…
Read the full text now without paywall at http://www.debito.org/?p=15744

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… and finally…

4) My SNA Visible Minorities 17: NIKE JAPAN Advertisement on Japan’s Visible Minorities does some good (Dec 21, 2020)

SNA — Nike’s television advertisement depicting a multiethnic Japan stands out as a bright spot to close out the dreadful year of 2020. Entitled “We Will Continue Moving: Myself and the Future,” the two-minute ad depicts a series of diverse Asian youths pensive about their lives in Japan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G02u6sN_sRc
[…] The takeaway message in a final montage of voices is the treatment they’re getting is not something they should have to tolerate. They shouldn’t have to wait for a world where they can live “as is,” without concealing themselves.

Now, before I say why this advertisement is important, let’s acknowledge some caveats. One is that this is from Nike Japan, and like all corporations their motivation is to make money. It is a stunt to attract attention and sell products. Moreover, Nike taking a high road with social justice issues is a bit ironic, given their history of child labor and sweatshops. Above all, human rights and business do not always mix well, and businesspeople are essentially opportunists. So let’s first not delude ourselves to think Nike is primarily motivated by altruism.

The other point worth mentioning is the attention that the ad got: 11 million views so far on YouTube. Naturally, internet trolls, xenophobes, and haters got triggered. Unfortunately, even responsible media (such as the AFP and BBC) gave them oxygen by reporting their overblown calls for a boycott, then fumbled the issue by getting soundbites from unqualified “experts” with no real training in Japan’s history of civil rights, social movements, or race relations issues. These rubes missed the mark by denouncing Nike Japan as a “foreign brand,” or dismissing these kids as “outside voices.”

This is worse than just lazy journalist hackery. This fumble was a missed opportunity to highlight issues that have long been ignored in Japan’s media—the existence of a growing number of visible minorities. So let’s make up for that in this column by acknowledging that Nike Japan’s ad was a big step in the right direction…

Rest of the article at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2020/12/21/visible-minorities-nike-japan-does-some-good/ (paywall, please subscribe)
Commentary site at http://www.debito.org/?p=16338

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 18, 2021 ENDS

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22 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 18, 2021

  • Great article by the mainichi about how the trainee programm is just a scam and how these technical interns are being treated as ‘single-use objects’ instead of immigrants.

    https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210116/p2a/00m/0na/027000c

    Virus job losses highlight flawed system that gathers foreigners to Japan for ‘single-use’
    January 18, 2021 (Mainichi Japan)

    Japanese version at https://mainichi.jp/articles/20210113/dde/012/040/021000c

    TOKYO — The coronavirus pandemic has been aggravating the lives of technical intern trainees and other foreigners who are already placed in vulnerable positions in Japanese society.

    As companies and government offices wrapped up their year, a consulting session targeting individuals concerned over their daily lives was held in the eastern Japan city of Ota, Gunma Prefecture, on Dec. 28, 2020. Consultations were offered by Anti-Poverty Network Gunma, which consists of legal experts and welfare workers in the prefecture, and the northern Kanto region-based nonprofit organization Amigos, which provides health care assistance and other general support to foreigners. Foreign residents were also seen attending the event from the morning, alongside their Japanese counterparts.

    A Filipina in her 60s, who has a long-term resident visa and worked in a factory in Gunma Prefecture, said that she was laid off in March 2020. Although she lives with her son, who is in his 30s and suffers from a chronic disease, she said with a shake of her head, “I can’t even bring my son to the hospital, given our current financial situation.”

    A Peruvian in his 40s at a park near the event’s venue said, “I’d managed to work until November, but then I was suddenly fired, maybe because coronavirus infections have risen again.” Digging into a bento box cooked by the event organizers’ staff, he said, “I have no clue how I can make a living from now on.”

    Munehiro Nakamichi, a judicial scrivener and head of Anti-Poverty Network Gunma, expressed a growing sense of crisis, saying, “The reality that those placed in vulnerable positions in society, such as elderly people, single mothers, and foreigners, are being driven into a corner has come to the fore amid the third wave of coronavirus infections.”

    Masataka Nagasawa, head of the administrative office of Amigos, said that there have been an increasing number of cases where foreigners, who have been unable to pay their rent following the coronavirus outbreak, are seeking shelter at the homes of those from the same home countries. Nagasawa said, “We have been sending out soap, masks, medical thermometers, and other items as part of coronavirus countermeasures, but the number of households we shipped the equipment to fell from around 400 to around 300 by the beginning of December. I’m worried that the risk of infection has grown larger since a lot of people are living in a small room together.”

    The city of Ota was the scene of suspected immigration law violations in October 2020, in which a group of Vietnamese nationals living in the city were arrested on suspicion of overstaying their visas, among other crimes. The arrests came in connection with large-scale livestock thefts from businesses mainly north of Tokyo. A significant number of the Vietnamese nationals, who were men and women aged from in their 20s to in their 30s, were technical intern trainees who fled their workplaces due to various reasons. Many foreigners, including technical interns, had been living in and around Ota, which is home to over 20 industrial complexes.

    Investigations by Gunma Prefectural Police and other law enforcers on the livestock thefts are ongoing, and the full picture of the case is yet to be uncovered. However, one of the suspects reportedly stated, “I worked at a welding factory until April, but quit after work decreased because of the coronavirus,” which suggests that the individuals had been struggling to get by.

    There are many cases where technical interns or foreign students seeking work come to Japan while shouldering a large amount of debt resulting from deals with malicious brokers in their home countries. Furthermore, there are endless cases of unpaid wages, as well as violence, sexual harassment, and other forms of abuse by employers in Japan.

    “While the issue of poverty among foreign residents brought about by a system that treats technical interns and other migrant laborers as ‘single-use objects’ has been exposed, there have also been farms and fisheries that have ceased to function as new trainees have been unable to enter the country. It can be said that the coronavirus pandemic highlighted these two factors,” pointed out Ippei Torii, representative director of Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan, also known as Ijuren.

    Torii reflected that up until the early 1990s, it was not rare for police to turn a blind eye to foreigners overstaying their visas, who had no legitimate residency status. According to the Ministry of Justice, in 1993 a peak of around 300,000 foreigners were reported to be living in Japan while overstaying their visas. He said, “It is impossible for these figures to get so high unless the government has approved of such practices as a policy. The situation was left unaddressed as industries became dependent on the labor of individuals overstaying their visas without offering them any systemic support, and such individuals were replaced with people with Japanese ancestry and technical interns.” The technical intern training program was established as an extension of a scheme that began in 1993. The 2009 revision of the immigration law established an independent visa status category for technical interns, prompting a sharp rise in its numbers.

    Japan claims that the purpose of the technical intern training program is to “transfer the nation’s technical skills, techniques and knowledge to developing countries, and to contribute to nurturing human resources that will lead the development of these countries’ economies.” However, the actual nature of the program is far from it.

    “Following the spread of the coronavirus, the Japanese government has allowed technical interns to shift to different types of jobs (from the original occupations permitted under their residency statuses). This shows that the national government’s continuous facade of claiming that the technical intern training program is a way to ‘transfer technology to other countries’ has been thrown out, and that the government has admitted that the trainees were merely ‘a convenient labor force.’ If a transfer of skills is truly the purpose of the program, officials should first ensure the protection of the lives of trainees who lost their jobs.”

    In 2019, the Japanese government implemented a set of new “skilled worker” visa statuses, in response to the voices of business circles that demanded that labor shortages be resolved. Although the government envisioned welcoming as many as some 40,000 people in the new system’s first fiscal year, the actual figure stood at just under one-tenth of that number. “What’s more, about 90% (of those who acquired the skilled worker visa) consisted of technical interns who switched their visa status. Even though the trainees are supposed to return to their home countries once training is over to transfer their skills, in reality, the training program has turned into a trial period preceding jobs as skilled workers,” added Torii.

    He criticizes the Japanese government as having continued to make ad-hoc policies, such as a sudden shift to beefing up law enforcement control on individuals who overstay their visas, from the earlier policy of letting such cases slide. Other such policies include the expansion of nominal categories for visa statuses, such as ‘technical intern’ and ‘foreign student,’ while depending on the labor of such individuals, and the establishment of the new ‘skilled worker’ category, which failed badly before the pandemic. And all the while these foreign residents are, in fact, immigrants to Japan.

    Furthermore, the current program is not consistent with the requests of employers in Japan. Torii said that as he has worked as an expert in the matter to talk with those who hire foreigners across the country, he was finding out that communities suffering from population declines and labor shortages wished for foreigners to migrate there on a full scale.

    “A representative of an agricultural corporation told me that they’d like people who will ‘engage in fruit production in earnest’ to come work for them. There was also a member of a shipowner association from a different region who said that ‘fishing here would not hold up were it not for the trainees.’ I feel that there is a growing number of Japanese people engaging in their work diligently on the ground who have learned from experience that nationality is irrelevant in these cases,” revealed Torii.

    Torii has pushed for the abolishment of the current technical intern training program, which leaves room for interference from malicious brokers, and calls for a system that treats incoming foreigners as “laborers,” and matches them with employers in the field via the local government-run “Hello Work” public employment security services.

    He concluded by saying, “It’s impossible for individuals to come to Japan while already having the desired skillsets, and many employers in the field don’t have such expectations either. It’s natural for employers to judge whether workers are fit for the job while working with them, and it’s also natural for foreigners to wish to continue their jobs as they grow familiar with the workplace and become fond of the community. I’m sure that not everyone has the mindset that anything goes as long as the pay is good. The trainees come to Japan as people, not as a labor force that was transferred to the country. The current setup of the program does not consider the reality that it’s people who are working. I guess you can call it merely a deskbound discussion, or an armchair theory to be found online.”

    (Japanese original by Jun Ida, Integrated Digital News Center, Evening Edition Group)
    ENDS

    Reply
    • Oh man the irony! I don‘t even know whether I should laugh or cry. Japan accusing other countries of nationalism is like Nazi Germany accusing other countries of human rights violations. I especially liked this part “It is understandable to put their own people first,” Kono said during an online panel Friday hosted by the World Economic Forum.”But we are living on the same planet, and the supply chain now goes global.”

      So now Japan is all about equality and „we are living on the same planet“, but when NJ come to Japan they‘re not equal and must therefore be constantly othered and discriminated. And most social myths about Japan, which the Japanese government actively spreads, make it sound like Japan is on another planet. All these years I‘ve been listening about how unique and special Japan is. Even during the pandemic, the government blamed foreigners for everything, as if Japanese people are somehow immune to the virus. Well I guess that Japanese people aren‘t thst immune or that special anymore once reality sets in.

      Reply
      • Jim Di Griz says:

        Well, there is that. The irony of a nation that has normalized nationalism to the point where surveys Dr. Debito has posted about before, where the majority of the population agree that NJ shouldn’t have human rights, now whining about the negative effects of nationalism on them! (Cue ‘victim mode’). Yes, of course, it’s the ‘big bad gaikoku’ treating poor little Japan unfairly.

        On another level, there’s extensive irony in the fact that nationalistic protectionist trade policies and laws (which is generally something developing nations do to encourage the growth of important domestic economic engines), is now, in the worlds so-called 3rd largest economy, leaving them with no domestic vaccine and at the back of the orders list amongst G7 countries to buy vaccines developed overseas.
        Like WWII, ‘gaikoku’ didn’t ‘win’ the vaccine race because its science was better, it won because its ideology was better; talent in the field was able to live and work overseas for pharmaceutical companies and were able to work at high management and research levels. Companies operating in societies that respected human rights and diversity by law, were able to offer working environments and career paths to the worlds best international talent. So they got ahead in the vaccine race.
        Meanwhile, in Japan, Japanese nationalism, protectionism, exclusionism, and discrimination has all left them unable to answer ‘why isn’t Japanese pharma the best in the world?’ and ‘why doesn’t Japan have the most advanced pharma technology and expertise’.
        It must be embarrassing for them. But Kono’s whining about unfair NJ just shows the cognitive dissonance that will undoubtedly be doubled-down on.

        Reply
        • Hadn’t it been for the comment about the EU and Japan suffering because of it, he would have merely been repeating a true statement by Tedros from a while ago – that due to vaccine nationalism, some [poorer] nations are indeed being left behind.
          https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/01/1081692

          But at least, on the bright side (sorry, contrary to your recent suggestion, I won’t be changing my handle any time soon :P) they are not *that* protectionist – as in least they’re willing to allow the domestic use of foreign developed vaccines, which is good news, since a Japanese one is supposed to be available at the end of the year at soonest… LOL
          https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/12/24/news/why-japan-is-largely-a-spectator-in-the-coronavirus-vaccine-race/

          Also, FWIW, judging by my personal experience (although I’m not employed at a pharma company), I think it’s mostly the working/company culture here.
          I’d say talent in Japanese companies is OK, but the corporate bureacracy and/or risk avoidance* is probably what was and still is impeding rapid progress here in various fields, starting from trivial everyday problems at the workplace up to major endeavors such as developing a COVID19 vaccine.

          *Research in general is risky AFAIK, i.e. you invest a lot but there’s no guarantee it will succeed/pay, and if things don’t wotk out well, ‘losers’ don’t get rewarded/promoted, so no one’s willing to take the potential blame for a possible failure

          Reply
          • Jim Di Griz says:

            Hey, I judge it by results, not anecdotes;
            Gaikoku: 3 developed and approved vaccines Vs Japan: 0 developed, 0 approved.
            Therefore, their system sucks because their ideology has led them to fail.

      • Jim Di Griz says:

        Again, proof of my ‘our ideology was better’ theory; Japan facing resistance to future rollout of Covid vaccination as the government insists on using a system that;

        ‘ will utilize a database to be built based on the basic resident registration system. The serial numbers of tickets for vaccinations that municipalities will distribute to local residents will be registered on the database, as will their My Number social security and taxation identification numbers.’

        https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/01/31/national/japan-personal-info-coronavirus-vaccine/

        Because Japan never truly kicked it fascist police state mentally after the war, and insists that the people shouldn’t rightly have secrets from the government and that the government should rightly poke into every recess of everyone lives, they are still (still!) looking to develop a system for managing vaccination that will include tax information and as many government departments as possible.

        End result? Resistance to vaccination. Great way to achieve a self defeating agenda boys!

        It’s almost as if they don’t want to succeed in vaccinating the population if it means they can’t gather unrelated information and put it on a database.

        Reply
        • As far as the state tracking its citizens is concerned, while I sincerely hope that China’s model won’t be a widely followed example, in the [freedom loving and law-abiding *grin*] West there too is this idea floated about a unified COVID passport, which might turn out to be a similar thing.
          Also, compared to my home country, I barely see any anti vaxxers in Japan, although I might be looking at the wrong places (obviously, there are nutjobs on 2ch, but I haven’t heard much about it in the mainstream). If this is indeed the prevalent stance around here, then hopefully, this system won’t cause much resistance.

          Personally, I’m really waiting for news confirming whether non Japanese nationals would also be eligible for the shots. Most news in English last year said all ‘residents’ would, but that was probably just a translation of ‘kokumin’; last thing I read was that the question of NJs being included or excluded was not to be codified inside the law explicitly. (which makes me fear the worst)

          “The revised law does not clarify whether the scheme will include foreign residents of Japan, but health ministry officials have said they expect them to be covered based on other vaccinations offered for free. ”
          https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20201202/p2g/00m/0na/087000c

          Reply
          • Jim Di Griz says:

            With respect, many other countries have floated the idea of ‘corona vaccine passports’, but have already rolled out vaccination programs.
            Japan is the only G7 country that is still to announce a vaccine program and is prioritizing the bureaucratic gathering of information as an essential integral function of vaccination.
            I’m deeply worried by your apologism on every thread. You’re not cynical at all.

          • I’m sure at least some of my friends consider me a Japan basher because of my constant rants, good to know I’m also considered an apologist at the same time! 😀

            But, in my defense, I have to say this is only my 10th year in Japan, perhaps I’ll be as jaded as you once enough time passes 😛

            On a more serious note, any source for the ‘prioritizing the bureaucratic gathering of information as an essential integral function of vaccination’? Because last thing I read was that foreign vaccines were still being tested: https://www.japantimes.co.jp//2021/01/29/national/japan-vaccination-rollout-cautious-approach/

            And last but not least, unfortunately, I personally happen know 2 fatal COVID victims, so I have to say that as far as this precise topic (COVID + vaccines) is concerned, I guess being an incurable optimist is my self defense mechanism in order to stay sane, as even though both were neither close friends nor family, nonetheless it had an impact on me, and I simply cannot be get myself cynical about this

          • Jim Di Griz says:

            Source? Yes, it’s the article I linked above.
            Japan will rollout a vaccination program once it has created a system to combine tax information and My Number information into the process.

        • Jim, its more about an internal power struggle of elders against any change at all than individual rights:
          “Local governments, however, have concerns about the new systems. On Wednesday, the Japan Association of City Mayors told the central government that municipalities do not want to be saddled with an increase in administrative work.”

          Imagined reaction “MENDOKUSAI!”

          “They won’t require a lot of work,” Kono replied, adding that local governments will only need to use flash memory sticks to transfer necessary data to the new systems.

          (the following is an imagined dialog ); “Furashu Memori Sutikku ~tte, nani?” Said Taro Jisan, a senior decision maker at one municipal office. He went on to say that they had always been using fax and paper since the golden age of the 80s so why change now? His staff members demurred in respect to the Erai Hito’s aged Authorite’.
          “It was another enactment of the ancient dialogue, its lines written centuries ago, between the entreating voices of women, and the oblivious, overbearing dismissiveness of old men.”
          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/24/the-school-beneath-the-wave-the-unimaginable-tragedy-of-japans-tsunami

          OK, I am satirizing it here but this is just sooo Japan, new politician comes in with talk of change and then faces a ton of resistance from the elder generations about relatively minor stuff like digitalizing. I recall the debacle of Koizumi trying to privatize the post office. It was put on hold. And he had quite a mandate, for once.

          Politicians cant do much in Japan because of the fossilized elder interests literally setting everything in stone. Takes “set in their ways” to a whole new level.

          Reply
          • >new politician comes in with talk of change

            Yeah, “change”, especially when they are young politicos from Jiminto and their ads say ‘Nihon no atarashii chikara’ or something like that… oh the irony!

            >Politicians cant do much in Japan because of the fossilized elder interests literally setting everything in stone. Takes “set in their ways” to a whole new level.

            The other day I was talking to a friend, listing some aspects of living in Japan that I like, but the non-participation of the masses in politics (excluding the elderly) sure was missing from the list. I think that this is one reason why not only the post office privatization plan failed (which I would have opposed personally btw, but that’s another story), but also why more if not all hot potato topics like the looming pensions crisis (due to the shrinking population) are left untouched.

          • @ Cynical NJ
            I can sadly picture it as you say: enthusiastic young jiminto kohai comes in with talk (ultimately it is just “talk” to show his “gambaru spirit”) of a “new, revitalized Japan” etc and the Jisans wear him down. after a few years of heavy carousing in Ginza hostess bars in the tax payers’ expense, he starts to look like them. As the hedonism takes hold, if he is alright Jack (or Taro), why indeed bother? Just work to maintain this hedonistic, priveliged lifestyle?

            I think this is why on another thread here we saw the inherent conservatism of even Japan’s younger generations. “Despite being blue-bloods clinging to the class structure, rightists have been peerless when it comes to appealing to those outside their class, particularly Japan’s young. (Why do you think they suddenly decided to lower the voting age from 20 to 18?)” Debito
            https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/09/06/issues/japans-right-keeps-leaving-left-dust/

    • “It is understandable to put their own people first,” Kono said”
      Indeed. As a J Nationalist, he understands that so, no vaccine anytime soon. Reap what thou sow.

      But surely European vaccine is “too strong” for Japanese people? And Fukushima radiation is different from other countries’ radiation, right?
      You know, like American beef is not suitable for Japanese people, oh that was Hata Tsutomu.
      WASHINGTON (AP) _ Excess fat, Buddhist customs and the length of the Japanese digestive tract all work to prevent any quick increase in his country’s U.S. beef imports, a Japanese trade authority said Thursday. https://apnews.com/article/8fff51f61de3400636ec9af70a2680d8

      I do recommend the weaker CHINESE Sinovac for Japan, as its only 50% effective so will not be too strong for Japanese bodies.
      Oh, I see, you prefer to be in the European Club. Guess you ll have to wait then.

      Tangentially, play the fun “Whose gaffe is that?” game of J politicians https://www.japantimes.co.jp/whose-gaffe-is-that/

      Reply
  • https://www.theage.com.au/national/tokyo-olympics-plan-is-tempting-disaster-20210125-p56wim.html

    “The International Olympic Committee’s announcement that “there is no Plan B” for the Tokyo Olympics and they will proceed in July, despite Japan’s massive third wave of COVID-19, defies public health logic. The very best that we can expect is a XXXII Olympiad in front of empty stadiums and a torch relay on empty streets.”

    Perhaps this is why the everyman gets it and most opinion polls show that most people are against the Olympics (including yours truly). And the question is, are Koike&co making the best of a bad job (tatemae), and are already thinking of saying ‘well too bad we couldn’t do anything about it’ (honne), or are they really determined to make it happen no matter what? [1]

    “Japan’s third wave has not yet reached its peak. The country’s testing rate is also the lowest in the developed world, meaning the actual number of cases could well be higher than the official figures. The measures the government has taken to control spread of the virus are inadequate and hopes that mass vaccination will solve the problem are unrealistic.”
    “However, this third wave has overwhelmed contact-tracing teams. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Japan’s testing rate has been extremely low by global standards. ”

    This is a cold shower; in my naivety, I was hoping that it’s getting better now, but this suggests that it’s more likely that all that happened is that there’s fewer tests than before, MAJOR fail…
    ===================
    [1] related: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2021/01/21/report-japan-privately-concludes-olympics-will-be-cancelled/

    Reply
    • this is a reply to your previous comment, ” young politicos from Jiminto and their ads say ‘Nihon no atarashii chikara’ or something like that… oh the irony!”

      This is why I gave up on Japan, sorry to say, and why I harp on about its postmodern absurdity.

      The signs, the ads, mean nothing. And everyone knows it means nothing. Only in Japan did I hear someone say “ignore that, its JUST a sign”.

      Everyone plays along. A bit like pretending to have democracy, labor rights, shakai hoken for 30 hours and free speech etc as the law, the constitution etc says,

      But in reality none of that matters. And it all comes down to trusting the arbritrary promises and whims of some increasngly forgetful self proclaimed senior who said he would pay you for that OT< but then "forgot".
      And so, nothing that is said can be relied upon.

      And so, to bring it back to your current comment, whatever they SAY about the Olympics, nudge nudge wink wink, is purely tatemae.

      Ah, tatemae. I do recall a cool Japanese friend of mine saying in 1993, "tatemae" just causes misunderstanding.". And here we are almost thirty years later, and this post war cultural creation (its not trad culture in fact) is still used by all to daily lie to each other.

      To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "sure, a few thousand people will die…. but face will be saved! Yay!"

      Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Well, yeah, this is the thing.
      There’s a lot of newspaper articles this week in the NJ press that cast shade on the olympics.
      The Guardian surveyed Japanese Olympians who WANT it cancelled and point out Japan’s only ‘on paper’ vaccination program;
      https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/feb/02/tokyo-olympics-definitely-going-ahead-unless-cancelled-again

      And the Sydney Morning Herald had a scathing article about Japan’s third-world testing levels;

      https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/amp.smh.com.au/national/tokyo-olympics-plan-is-tempting-disaster-20210125-p56wim.html

      It’s going to play out the same as last year; NJ teams will start to pull out as they realize Japan isn’t doing enough. It’s all about who takes responsibility for the decision to cancel and how that effects the insurance payouts and political fallout. It *has* to be ‘someone else’s’ fault.

      Reply
  • “Tokyo Olympics: definitely going ahead unless cancelled again?” LOL, thats just sooo postmodern Tatemae Japan. We will unless we won’t.

    The Sydney Morning Herald article, wow, the jig is definitely up then.

    Reply
    • CNN just had a spot on Japan’s covid response. They interviewed a woman who couldn’t get into hospital in Hyogo because there aren’t any beds, a doctor at a hospital in Kobe who said that Japan didn’t prepare its medical system for the wave, and reported 8000 people are at home without treatment (I thought JT reported 15000 last week?).
      Next up, Melbourne tennis disrupted as 600 players and staff forced to isolate over covid case…
      And even Mori’s sexist denigration of JOC members made the news (although I secretly believe that Mori is self-sabotaging so that he can jump ship and leave someone else to explain when the Olympics get cancelled).

      Reply

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