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Hello Newsletter Readers. Let me open with an update on where we are:

We are close to thirty years since came in to being as an information site for life and human rights in Japan. It will continue to exist for as long as I live and breathe, if not beyond. That said, I’m finding myself more and more distant from Japan these days both in the physical and professional senses. I now have lived outside of Japan for several years teaching Political Science at the university level. Consequently I am finding Japan these days, as it fades into a relative backwater geopolitically, increasingly a minor example in my research interests, which revolve around the state of democracy vs. authoritarianism worldwide.

But I do have some articles to share, and I wanted to ground them in this context above before I get to the TOC:

Table of Contents:
1) My SNA Visible Minorities 46: “Visible Minorities: Departing Japan at Middle Age” (May 15, 2023), where I make the case for deciding whether you’re a “lifer” in Japan by age 40.

2) My SNA Visible Minorities column 47: “The Reverse Culture Shock of Leaving Japan”, with some pointers of how to resettle and reassimilate overseas despite all the things you might miss about Japan

3) BLOG BIZ: Thoughts about the future of What’s next?

By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (,, Twitter (for as long as that exists too) @arudoudebito) Newsletter are as always freely forwardable


1) My SNA Visible Minorities 46: “Visible Minorities: Departing Japan at Middle Age” (May 15, 2023), where I make the case for deciding whether you’re a “lifer” in Japan by age 40.

Excerpt: This column offers a frank assessment of living your life out in Japan as an immigrant. It of course can be done, but most of you will find that even after decades swimming against the current in terms of legal status and social acceptance, you will get no commensurate reward after all your efforts. In fact, I found that life opportunities dwindle as you age in Japan, and you get locked into a dreary, impoverished lifestyle like most other elderly here. If you think you can avoid this situation, power to you, but I suggest you make your decision to stay permanently or not by age 40. Good luck.

I lived in Japan for 24 years, married and had kids, became tenured faculty at a university, bought land, built a house, and learned the language and culture well enough to write books in Japanese and take out Japanese citizenship. In terms of trying to assimilate into Japan, I don’t think there’s a lot more I could have done. I was an ideal immigrant. But then, like Editor Michael Penn at the Shingetsu News Agency, I too left Japan.

That’s both a pity and, in my case, an inevitability. Japan should be trying harder to keep people like us. It really doesn’t. The longer you’re in Japan, the more your opportunities dwindle. Let’s first talk about the natural obstacles to people staying on, starting with how difficult it is to keep a visa…

Full article with comments archived at


2) My SNA Visible Minorities column 47: “The Reverse Culture Shock of Leaving Japan” (July 25, 2023), with some pointers of how to resettle and reassimilate overseas despite all the things you might miss about Japan

Excerpt: SNA Editor Michael Penn is now doing SNA from the United States. Inspired by his big move, my previous column was about my leaving Japan in middle age, where I suggested readers decide whether or not to be a lifer in Japan by age 40. Accordingly, this column will talk about establishing a new life outside Japan…

The biggest culture shock I felt after Japan was right after I arrived overseas. In the United States, for example, many big airport hubs are dirty, run-down, and relatively unpredictable compared to their Japanese counterparts. The waiting areas in particular feel like bus stations. Facilities are sometimes ill-maintained, instructions to your connecting flights or ground transit often monolingual and poorly signposted, ground staff often inattentive and inaccessible, and the food… well, it’s “airport food,” enough said. I quickly missed Japan’s clean, efficient, and plentiful public transportation that follows a schedule, and the restaurant fare that actually looks like the picture on the menu…

This initial culture shock starts fading once you’ve had a good night sleep and enjoy a few familiar things: Larger hotel rooms. Comfort foods like a thick steak with A1 Sauce or a spiral-cut ham hock. An apple pie that actually has more than one apple in it. Supermarkets full of cereals, dozens of flavors of canned soups, bulk goods, and cheap rice and vegetables. News media that is an absorbing read not just because it’s in your native language, but because the topics are interesting! Procuring a car so you can merge into society like everyone else.

But things will still grate for awhile: Being forced to tip. Dirty public restrooms that seem to be the norm, not the exception. Bureaucrats who seem to have little personal dedication to a job well done. Political discourse more concerned with riling you up than with solving problems. The din of people on cellphones or kids having public meltdowns that you can’t shut out because they’re speaking in your native tongue. And the biggest worry: Getting sick or injured and having to deal with American healthcare! It’s worse with family in tow, listening to their grumbles about future uncertainties and cultural differences and feeling helpless to offer quick fixes. During this purgatory period of constant irritability, the grass will always seem greener elsewhere.

It takes months, but resettlement will happen. Things that you miss about Japan eventually get overwritten by routines you establish as things feel more like home…

Link to the full article on SNA at

Anchor site for commentary at


3) BLOG BIZ: Thoughts about the future of What’s next?

Hi Blog. I want to tell you a bit about what’s on my mind. I’ve been researching and commenting on for nearly thirty years. I’m not tired of writing, but my writing here has become monthly because, in terms of the urgency of commenting about Japan, I’m not really feeling it right now.

The issues I read about within Japan are usually insular, petty, and repetitive. And they are generally on topics I have commented on before. I’ve done the doctorate, written and updated my books multiple times, and said basically all I need to say about the state of discrimination and how to make a better life as an immigrant in Japan. My current job does not involve Japan at all, and my Japan skills are only personally useful when I’m actually in Japan. My interests have generally moved on to the geopolitical and on the state of democracy itself worldwide. That’s what I read about and teach about in my classes on a daily basis. Now I want to devote those energies to something more productive, such as my students and my retirement savings. In terms of profession I am, after all, a university instructor of Political Science first and an essayist/activist second. It’s time to focus on the professional side as I approach age 60 and my career enters my twilight years.

Not to worry, as a blog and a searchable website resource on life and human rights in Japan, will stay up in perpetuity. I will continue to write monthly columns for the Shingetsu News Agency, and I will post excerpts on And I will of course continue to approve comments here on a regular basis. But would you be interested in my blogged thoughts even if they’re not about Japan?

More of my thoughts about where I am as a researcher and a commentator at


A final word: This is not the final Newsletter. Of course not. At last count this Newsletter has 7658 subscribers, and that’s a valuable resource built up over decades that deserves to be maintained. So, again, if you are interested in my writings that are NOT specifically Japan-related, please let me know at, and I will start putting them in these Newsletters as well.

Thank you for reading for all these years. Sincerely, Debito


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  • And it’s gone! Well, no taxation without representation so I guess that means leaving at three year mark to get my compulsory Nenkin payments back!

    DEJIMA AWARD, surely? I actually thought the article was a few years old but no, 2023. Shame on you, Kumamoto.

  • Another case of racial discrimination and bullying in school. A fifth grader whose father is a foreigner got told “foreigners are disgusting” by his classmates. What’s even worse is that a third party committee concluded “that while bullying had taken place, it did not rise to the level of a serious situation. ”
    How is one year of constant bullying due to “race” not a serious situation?

  • Following-up on my comment here, the GoJ will grant special permission to minors born and raised in Japan that lack residence status:

    Foreign minors who grow up in Japan to be eligible for residence

    Over 140 Japan-born foreign minors to get special permission to stay

    Sounds great, right?

    Well, not so fast: The system for issuing special permission lacks clear criteria, so deciding who gets special permission and who doesn’t is essentially up the Justice Minister.

    Speaking of the Justice Minister, he made sure to not set a precedent by stating that the issuance of special permission is “for this time only”.

    Also, there’s no word if something similar is in store for the family members or these minors, but apparently minors whose parents have criminal records will not be eligible (sins of the father much?!).

  • The government should also firmly present the basic principle that “foreigners are indispensable in Japan.”

    The problem with this is that the GoJ would first have to backtrack on its “Japan will not adopt an immigration policy” policy:

    Japan needs to open arms to foreigners as population drops: int’l exchange center director / 外国人との共生 (Japanese language paywall version)

    On a related note, J businesses have been profiting off the backs of NJ since 1990 (i.e. with the revision to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act which granted nikkei from South America permanent resident visas), but have been outsourcing the support of NJ to others ever since.

    It’s high time J businesses become part of the chain of support for NJ instead of continuing to be a missing link in this chain:

    Businesses key to independence for Japan’s foreign permanent residents: NPO chair / 外国人との共生 (Japanese language paywall version)

  • UK won‘t extradite one of three men involved in a jewelry heist in Tokyo due to concerns over Japan‘s human rights record.

    Good to see that governments over the world are finally waking up to this. When Ghosn escaped and told his story I‘ve said that his story would probably be powerful enough to convince a lot of people that Japan‘s justice system is barbaric. Looks like governments are beginning to realize it too.

  • According to data from Kōseishō, over 70% of workplaces employing NJ trainees in 2022 engaged in illegal practices (e.g. safety rule violations, unpaid wages, etc.):

    Over 7,200 Japan firms employing foreign trainees broke law

    Some stats from the article:

    * 23.7 percent were in breach of safety rules such as unsafe use of machines.

    * 16.9 percent, were related to unpaid wages.

    * 21 cases were deemed as serious or malicious violations and have been sent to prosecutors!

    “We will continue to make efforts to supervise and instruct companies”.

    Given the the results, one would be forgiven for assuming that the supervision and instruction is intended to help the 30% of workplaces not engaging in illegal practices join the group of 70% that are!

  • Some cops will start wearing body cams in 2024. „ The NPA will check the footage to see if officers are questioning people appropriately, among other purposes“

    I wonder if this will also apply to foreigners or „foreign looking“ people, or if we‘ll get the good old excuse that stopping someone who‘s „foreign looking“ is perfectly fine because there‘s always the suspicion that they‘re overstaying their visa.

    The bad news is that Japan is even becoming more of a police state with more ways to control people:

    „ The NPA’s total fiscal 2024 budget request is some 334 billion yen (roughly $2.29 billion), an increase of about 13.1 billion yen (approx. $89.9 million) from fiscal 2023. The budget also includes the costs of demonstration experiments using cutting-edge technology, including fingerprint identification using artificial intelligence for some 46 million yen (about $315,000), and fatal accident prevention using non-contact sensors to measure the respiration and other health parameters of suspects in detention facilities, at some 4 million yen (roughly $27,000).“

    We‘ll have to wait and see if the body cams will be used for anything useful. But since it‘s the NPA, I remain skeptical.

    • “Many Nepalese students are employed part-time, but even if they are highly valued for their work, it is difficult for them to find full-time employment due to bureaucratic barriers.”

      So, doubt this can be a long or even medium term solution. Want cake and eat it again, Japan.

  • Oizumi in Gunma plans to drop the Japanese nationality requirement for regular municipal government jobs and assign foreign nationals to divisions not dealing with personal information. This sounds good, but the part about not being allowed to work with personal information still irks me, as it sounds racist. The article goes into more detail:“ Foreign regular staff will be assigned to construction and civil engineering work, such as park management and road repairs, as well as general office work. They will not be promoted to managerial posts, and will not be involved in the exercise of public authority, such as imposing and collecting taxes.“

    Why shouldn‘t foreigners be able to be promoted into managerial posts if they‘re good workers? I‘m glad that the general ban will be liftet, but it seems that a lot of barriers will still remain. Japan just doesn‘t seem to be able to grasp the concept of equality.

    • @Niklas “Why shouldn‘t foreigners be able to be promoted into managerial posts if they‘re good workers? ”

      Because it is humiliating for a Japanese to have to take orders from a non-Japanese. I’ve seen it at work quite often. (I’ve worked for Japanese companies for 27 years).

      • @TJJ,

        I think it’s fair to say that the wajin pool around Oizumi is fairly constrained. Also, I think it’s fair to say that the mayor has a good handle on what is going on in his town w.r.t the NJ population.

        So given this situation, do you think that the prohibition on NJ being promoted to managerial posts and exercising public authority will eventually be rolled back? In other words, in the case of Oizumi town, do you think pragmatism will trump humiliation?

        BTW, let’s assume that Oizumi doesn’t decide to enhance the wajin numbers by bribing them to relocate.

        • P.S. to “In Japan it seems not a few people mix this up with nationality and get resentful i.e. Gaijin as the ultimate “outside hire” – but J- society all their life told them they had a golden ticket just by studying hard to get into university (and slacking off).”

          I worked in NIssan four times a week- brought in by Carlos Ghosn’s new business training directives, and the J employee resentment at being asked to work “harder”, learn English, study western style decision making strategies and cultural awareness, was PALPABLE. Some just quit.

          N.b. They were working more intensely during working hours but were kind of kicked out of the office by 7pm. Again, a lot just didn’t like this “foreign” style of working and quit.
          Others accepted it resignedly without a smiles and much sucking of air through the teeth as “shouganai, gaman shinai to”. Always mentioning Ghosn by name as its architect.

          I am sure you can all picture it.

          Interestingly, the glamorous reception girls did not speak a word of English and seemed to be having a whale of a time gossiping away in their own bubble; NJs ignored as aliens.

          A certain well-known advertising giant I worked at had a similar yet more extreme dichotomy of using an internal agency to hire attractive young things to work as trad eye-candy secretaries on a different, temp contract as opposed to the female managers hired on real employee contracts.

          And yet the latter bitterly and verbally resented the presence- and dress sense- (or state of undress) of the former. The female managers were working much harder too, of course. The former just made coffee, photocopies, and knocked off at 6pm.

          It does not take much perceived difference (not even advantage per se) for jealousy at the workplace to kick in. NJs being different, or doing a “different” job being an easy target.

      • I would say its more extreme – NJs have to be seen to be having a hard time; they are not allowed to be in an even slightly different thus “privileged” position, let alone a boss. I think its because they traditionally mixed up “being Japanese” with “having earned privileges in a Japanese company” and the whole idea of work being your life and what defines you the most. NJ have “just arrived” in Japan, so you have to start at the bottom (even if you have been here for ten years and/or you are a specialist).

        No one likes it in the West when someone from outside is hired to fill that management role you felt you should or could have been promoted to; I even quit a company myself upon being lied to by the new boss that she had worked her way up when in fact she has recently been hired in; opportunities for promotion were few.

        In Japan it seems not a few people mix this up with nationality and get resentful i.e. Gaijin as the ultimate “outside hire” – but J- society all their life told them they had a golden ticket just by studying hard to get into university (and slacking off).

        Obviously the work reality has changed somewhat, but the Abe Zeitgeist still peddles exceptionalism Nationality Myths of “special” Japanese in exchange for falling wages, rising taxes etc.

        This dovetails with unanimous Japanese decision-(un)making; 9 of us may like your idea but sulky guy in the corner does not, and feels left out/threatened/jealous of outside male, thus after thought to avoid alienating this one workmate= NO DEAL Your presence alone, unless you can ACT being quiet, humble, unconfident, and appear to be “having a harder time”, will cause resentment from someone.

        A further complication is in education, at any rate, “quiet, humble, unconfident” are not traits that get you hired as a teacher. Prepare to switch personalities from office to training room.

        Heaven forbid you get an uppity idea the boss likes, like rafting lumber through the creek instead of overland (12 Years a Slave).
        Here is a more apt anecdote showing the mindset: two new Japanese employees were extremely resentful that I (ten year employee) came in an hour later but left an hour later (due to the nature of my role teaching evening classes) and started acting up, interrupting meetings with chores they wanted me to do for them and then using racial epithets about gaijin if I did not immediately comply while promising to get back to them post meeting,, even going to the local Koban to ‘report” me (they did nothing, said it was a matter for immigration); then started not turning up for work unannounced (refused to even drop 10 yen in a public phone) and just decided to get the obligatory one month salary and quit regardless (thankfully). One of them went full meltdown, smashing things up and a year later the office was burglarized……

        The point was even though I was not their boss nor did I even interact with them much, they wanted to
        1. Lord it over the gaijin regardless
        2. Being Japanese trumps length of service- i.e. their length of time as a Japanese trumps my length of service to the company
        3. Why is the gaijin on a slightly different work contract? Even if it was not advantageous, the perceived “difference” was seen as favoritism and unfair
        4. A Japanese thinks they have the right to report an NJ to the police or immigration for a perceived slight (snitch sites)
        5. “Fumajime” and Jealousy of the role/job enjoyment- I had built a good relationship with co workers and the (also NJ) teams over a decade; newcomers saw this as “fumajime”.
        6. Thus, NJs have to be seen to be having a hard time; they are not allowed to be in a privileged position.

        Others have commented how “Paying your Dues” is a lifelong endeavor in Japan.

        Despite oft spouted cliches about humbleness or low Individualism (a myth according to Hofstede), I find it incredibly egotistical of them to think they can start a new job and expect to have the exact same or better terms and conditions of long term employees doing different jobs from them, largely on the basis of them being Japanese in Japan, vis a vis a Non Japanese who is doing a job they cannot.

  • Props to Soka city for helping to support refugees from Myanmar (i.e. something that the GoJ should be doing!):

    Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Saitama Prefecture close to Tokyo is trailblazing a program to help refugees from Myanmar find employment with local companies.

    It is the first such entity in Japan to do so, and has already helped 11 people from Myanmar, all single men and women in their 20s and 30s who fled the civil war raging in their homeland. They arrived in Japan in September last year.

    They came under a third country resettlement program, which accepts refugees recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    How refugees from Myanmar are getting head start in Saitama / 商議所が就労先を仲介 「第三国定住制度」で来日のミャンマー難民 (Japanese language paywall)

    • I am surprised the percentage realizing this is so high.
      However, “The city of Nishinoomote on Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, said efforts should first focus on luring young Japanese citizens to move and settle down in its area.”

      That is probably want they would all prefer to do, except how to “lure back” young people? I suspect the benefits would not be particularly good, and even so it would not be enticing enough to draw most young people away from the bright lights and delights of the cities, that most of them are in thrall to in a postmodern techno-Disneyland fantasy of consumerist hedonism. Most cannot kick this habit and prefer to live in the “never ending present”.

      ““the historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life.” ….. the assertion of a failure of history in the spectacle, which obfuscates the past and fuses it with a future to create a never-ending present. The waves of ecstasy and obsessive product trends also parallel religious fervor of ages past.” Guy Debord.

      Sounds like Ohtaku hobbyism and consumerism to me.

      Outdoor types would be needed. Surfers might be interested in relocating maybe, if said communities have good waves. Knowing the finnicky natures of most Japanese though, I would suspect only an unlikely convergence of perfect situations and benefits would lure a select few back.

      Furthermore, all power lies in The City and why would urbanites care much for the countryside? Tokyo uber alles, after all. We saw that with the 3/11 disaster, or Kobe. The areas are treated like subordinates, disdained “Inaka” at worst.

      Most Japanese live in cities and there are reasons for that, money and status being primary ones. Young people also go there for mating purposes, driven by urges reminiscent of lemmings; that is a hard one (no pun intended) to compete with.

      They won’t see the logic.

      Unless said depopulating regions offer some degree of urbanization and the conveniences that come with that, it would seem Japan is now in a downward spiral of its own making.

  • ‘Japan is a safe country’.

    Well, if you’re an NJ running an Indian, Nepalese or Sri Lankan restaurant, your mileage will vary!:

    A man accused of repeatedly burglarizing Indian restaurants in Japan where mainly foreign nationals work has told police he targeted them “to earn a living because security is lax (at such eateries) compared to establishments where Japanese people work.”

    According to the police station, Yamamoto explained that he targeted Indian restaurants “because many of them were not under a contract with a security company and closed with money left in the cash register.” Since this spring, similar incidents have been confirmed at more than 100 businesses in eight prefectures, including Nepalese and Sri Lankan eateries, and police are investigating whether there is a connection.

    Man arrested after numerous Indian restaurants burglarized in Japan / 「インド料理店は警備甘い」 100店以上で空き巣か 容疑者逮捕

  • In other news, the GoJ is still preoccupied with using NJ + stopgap measures to shore up the labor pool:

    The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is discussing the matter [of opening up the transport industry to foreign drivers of trucks, buses and taxis] with the Immigration Services Agency as it looks to add the automobile transport industry to the “specified skilled worker” category, a resident status for foreign nationals who are ready to work immediately in industries struggling to secure labor. As Japan’s domestic labor force is in short supply due to the declining population, it is likely that the movement to seek foreign human resources will accelerate. The government is aiming to implement the change in policy by the end of this fiscal year.

    Ministry mulls allowing foreign drivers amid worker shortage / 「特定技能」に外国人運転手の追加検討 タクシー・バス・トラック (Japanese language paywall version)

    Japan looks to open transport industry to foreign drivers amid labor shortages / この国が縮む前に:タクシーなど外国人運転手を拡大 国交省「特定技能」に追加検討

    「特定技能」にトラックなどの運転手 国交省が追加検討

  • So now they‘re randomly arresting people for overstaying their visa, even if not true.

    I also like how he‘s only getting an apology. In any decent country he would also get compensation. If I were him I would‘ve told them that they can shove their apology where the sun doesn‘t shine. Imagine spending 2 days in jail just because some „gaijin“ hating cop wasn‘t even able to listen what the immigration officer had to say over the phone.

    • I have always thought that the “processing” stamp on a piece of paper won’t cut it with street cops. So I used to spend the next six weeks actively avoiding them.

      I don’t recall but don’t they retain your passport or ID card while it is being processed? At least that’s how it was a decade ago. They just give you a paper to carry around instead, which always seemed flimsy both literally and metaphorically.

      The first time I converted a tourist visa to a work visa they literally did it in one day. I suppose those days are gone due to staff cutbacks or getting everyone’s hanko after rigorous background checks etc.

      They need a different way to cover the period of processing. Maybe a temporary visa stamp in the actual passport? (one can dream…)

      • But then you’d have to carry your passport around with you at all times. Not such a fun day at the beach having to keep your passport safe and dry.

      • Oldbutnotobselete says:

        Iris Scans and Fingerprints are taken at the point of entry to Japan, not to mention Automatic Facial Recognition. This is enough Data for an Officer to use a Police Issue Mobile Phone to carry out a Field Interview and Street ID Process with an Immigration Status check in seconds. Just a bit of software and a 2 hour training slot in the Koban, done remotely.

  • Yet, why is it that the minorities, who do not fit the image of the typical Japanese, are forced to explain and seek permission endlessly?

    It’s due to how Japan’s national identity has been constructed and maintained through legal structures, statute enforcement, public policy, and media messages (i.e. Embedded Racism).

    As I See It: Japan should base school rules on diversity / 黒人伝統の髪形で卒業式「隔離」 校則は多様性を前提に (Japanese language paywall version)

    • If history is any guide, badly (i.e. think of being stopped by the J-police for riding a bicycle while looking foreign. But now instead of omawari-san doing shokumu shitsumon, think about a group of J-vigilantes pulling you off your bike and pinning you down).

          • “On a summer day at JR Shin-Okubo Station in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, a group of “vigilantes” surrounded a man in front of a ticket gate.

            “Why are you watching girls passing by, huh?” one of them, occasionally grinning, asked the man.”

            We can all see where this is going.
            1. NJ waiting at train station gate for someone
            2. NJ in Roppongi talking to girls (or anyone)

            Its just like the Anti English Spectrum in Korea who followed foreigners they suspected of committing the heinous crime of teaching private English lessons, and that came to an abrupt end when they followed a US marine with PTSD who fought back violently.

            They claim they are exposing stalkers but they themselves are stalking, and also violating privacy laws and committing assault.

            Sexual jealousy rearing its head.

            Its also misogynistic as its basically saying the women themselves lack agency and need a bunch of men to look out for them, but hey I expect that in Japan.

          • Baud is right. How many insecurities must a guy have to not only blame NJ for being an INCEL but to actually make videos of themselves taking out their frustration on NJ?

  • Interesting study I found which concludes that prejudice against immigrants is socially acceptable in Japan, contrary to Western countries. The study also lists “Embedded racism” as reference. It’s also very interesting that the study was able to conclude that more educated and left leaning Japanese people are also pro-prejudice. This also mirrors my own experience and is the reason why I said that Nihonjiron is hammered into every child in my last comment.

    I’ll copy paste the conclusion, because it’s very telling:

    “It has been widely believed that anti-prejudice norms prevail in the democratic countries (e.g., Beyer and Liebe, 2015). However, previous studies examining norms have exclusively focused on North American and Western European societies, which accommodate large proportions of immigrants and exhibit ethnic diversity (e.g., Creighton, et al., 2019; Janus, 2010), and we still know little about how citizens residing in outside of these contexts form anti-prejudice norms. We employed the case of Japan, where the immigrant share and perceived ethnic diversity are considerably low and belief in ethnic homogeneity is held, to test how Japanese citizens perceive norms using two list experiments.

    We obtained unexpected results in the list experiments. Japanese citizens are more likely to be negative towards immigrants when their answers are visible to researchers, while their masked “true” answers are actually more positive. These results indicate that norms in Japan are not consistent with conventional norms—it is normative for Japanese citizens to hold negative attitudes towards immigrants regardless of their country of origin. The evaluations of the quality of the list experiments indicate that these results are likely not due to failure of the experiments. In addition, we successfully replicated the results in two studies using different participants, different timings, and different framings of sensitive and nonsensitive items. Furthermore, analyses using subsamples divided by their socio-demographic characteristics and political orientations did not change the results. These tests confirmed a consistent tendency of Japanese to hold norms of being more negative towards immigrants.

    Why did we obtain these unexpected results? We believe that two contextual factors contribute to the negative gaps between overt and covert attitudes towards immigrants: the small proportion of immigrants and the prevailing belief in ethnic homogeneity. First, as we mentioned, the proportion of immigrants in Japan has remained at approximately 1–2% for decades. Because of the small number of immigrants, Japanese may perceive that the negative impacts of immigrants on society are not considerable (e.g., Quillian, 1995) and be less likely to form “true” negative attitudes. These arguments can be indirectly supported by the comparison of “true” attitudes in Studies 1 and 2—attitudes towards South Korean and Chinese, which are the two largest immigrant groups in Japan, in Study 2 are more negative than those towards immigrants in general in Study 1, presumably because respondents can concretely imagine the impact of these specific ethnic groups.

    These relatively lower “true” negative attitudes are masked, and Japanese tend to exaggerate their attitudes towards immigrants because of the prevalent belief in ethnic homogeneity. In a society where most people consider that having the same nationality, ethnicity, and culture are requirements for being legitimate members of the society, immigrants are perceived as outsiders and a subordinate group. Segregating and rejecting these groups may be perceived to help maintain cultural and blood linkages among the Japanese people, and the Japanese people believe that it is socially desirable to be exclusive against immigrants. In other words, positive attitudes towards immigrants may signal that these groups are to be equally treated, which is against the shared belief of group boundary making based on the same nationality, ethnicity, and culture. In summary, on one hand, belief in ethnic homogeneity generates perceived needs to show exclusive views towards social outsiders from the society and exaggerated negative attitudes, and on the other, the small proportion of immigrants results in relatively lower “true” negative attitudes. Upon combining these two contextual situations, we observe that there are gaps between overt and covert attitudes and Japanese attitudes towards immigrants asked in response to direct questions are highly negative.

    One of the striking findings is that highly educated and the liberal individuals, who are supposed to share anti-prejudice norms in the norm diffusion hypothesis (e.g., Meyer, 2010), seem to obey pro-prejudice norms. These results suggest that the belief in ethnic homogeneity is deep rooted in Japanese society; thus, exposure to anti-prejudice norm through (higher) education cannot change one’s tendency to obey the pro-prejudice norms. We should note that previous studies tested the associations between educational level and social desirability bias with mixed results (e.g., An, 2015; Heerwig and McCabe, 2009). Further studies are required to confirm how educational level and political ideology and norm internalization are related.

    These results are distinctive from previous studies showing that citizens tend to hide their true negative attitudes and pretend that they are positive towards immigrants (e.g., Creighton, et al., 2019; Janus, 2010). The social desirability of attitudes towards immigrants is, thus, not universally shared across the world, but rather, contextually dependent. Then, to what extent are the results of our studies generalizable to other contexts? Because we speculated the results using a belief in ethnic homogeneity, some may argue that this is Japanese exceptionalism. We should note that Japan is not exceptional in these results, and belief in ethnic homogeneity is not the only reason generating negative estimates of the list experiment. A good example can be found in Knoll’s study of American nativist attitudes (2013). By comparing answers to a direct question and list experiments, Knoll showed that Americans feel social pressure to express their nativist attitudes regardless of their “true” feelings because “nativism has historically also been associated with more socially desirable attitudes like nationalism and patriotism” (p.1588). Knoll’s findings, together with those of our studies, suggest the possibility that the historically rooted contexts may strongly resist the acceptance of norms shared in other contexts.

    Our studies also provide implications for the evaluation of the results of list experiments. The results of negative estimates of list experiments are sometimes framed as “failures” and are attributed to respondents’ cognitive skill (e.g., Kramon and Weghorst, 2019). However, as we showed in two studies that negative estimates are obtainable when prevailing norms are opposite to conventional ideas. We should not frame negative estimates as failures of list experiments but as signs for understanding how and what kinds of norms prevail in a society.

    Despite the novelty of findings, this study has several limitations that should be addressed in future. First, the responses in Study 2 were not distributed in an ideal way. Future studies will improve the choices of nonsensitive items (e.g., Glynn, 2013) to eliminate the possibility of lying. Second, the sample that we used in this study was not representative but is an opt-in web-sample, which resulted in, for example, higher educational level than that of the general population. Because we experimentally compared control and treatment groups and compared subgroups, we believe that employing a representative sample may not drastically change the results. However, for generalizability of the results to the whole population, future studies are required to expand the sample to be representative.”

    • The word is out, the jig is up. Watch this short, one of many showing “Japan is racist, along with S Korea” has entered the popular zeitgeist. Interestingly it does not provide figures for Japan, probably because of their honne/tatemae answers, or masking as summarized above,

      Gotta love how it says “Surprisingly, for a developed country- the only one on this list!”. Russia is on there too (shame on them considering its a multi ethnic federation) but in social attitudes they are more alike than they care to admit.

      • Well it does show the stat of 27.9% for Japan on the screen to be fair. The video doesn‘t mention any source, so the numbers are kinda useless though. Especially since a few years ago the Japanese Ministry of Justice did a survey and that survey claims that 33.3% of respondents experienced racism. Which is way too low in my opinion and I assume it‘s because some of them don‘t speak good enough Japanese, some of them didn‘t stay long enough and some of them had their companies take care of everything like housing etc.

        Seriously, you just have to search for an apartment in Japan and 90% of landlords will reject you. There‘s no way only 33% of foreign residents experienced racism in Japan.

        You also have to ask yourself how many of these foreigners answering are apologists? I‘ve met so many foreigners who‘ve told me that „Japanese only“ isn‘t racism, it just means they only speak Japanese. Or, Japanese only landlords aren‘t racist, they‘re only worried they won‘t be able to properly communicate, or that you‘ll leave the country without paying.

        But even with those fudged numbers, Japan is still one of the most racist countries in the world and together with South Korea, the only developed one on the list.

        But yes, I agree with you. I think that the notion of „Japan is a racist country“ is gaining more traction recently. Since the covid entry ban, I see a lot less apologists defending Japanese racism and a lot more people who are calling Japan out for it.

        Also as we‘re on the topic of YouTube, I recently found this video where this YouTuber (I think he‘s been part of a panel with Debito before) asks Japanese people what they think about a „Japanese Only“ sign put up by a ramen restaurant during the pandemic. I think we talked about that particular restaurant here on actually.

        But not surprisingly, almost everyone says it‘s not discrimination. What‘s even worse is that a lot of people said that it‘s ok, because Japanese and Asians are getting discriminated in the west due to covid. What an astonishing logic.

        But the good thing here is that 99% of the comments are critical, instead of defending Japan. Usually the general consensus on YouTube channels that focus on Japan is to always be an apologist and always defend Japan. But it looks like even the weebs are fed up with Japan nowadays. Good, I say. More foreigners need to know about the reality of being a foreigner, or even just foreign looking person in Japan.

        • @Niklas “I‘ve met so many foreigners who‘ve told me that „Japanese only“ isn‘t racism, it just means they only speak Japanese.”

          I’ve had Japanese people tell me it’s not racist because it treats all NJ the same, therefore can’t be racist. lol

        • In the USA/UK, one still sees the occasional Japanese trying to play the Race Card as Asian, but that can be easily be out trumped with the recently trending Colonialist Card- Japan, as a former colonizer, doesn’t get to claim wacism or being oppressed. Fair do’s.

  • Makes sense — just keep kicking the proverbial can down the road:

    If they [the GoJ] publicly recognize the [1923 Korean] massacre, they may have to apologize or pay reparations to countries such as South Korea and China. They likely did this to avoid that sort of situation. Claiming the massacre never happened or was justified in self-defense would clearly diverge from the facts, so they really cannot take any official position. Instead, they are merely buying time, pushing the issue away by feigning ignorance. That’s apparently their ulterior motive.

    Ex-Japan PM Abe’s shadow seen in gov’t claim it has no records on 1923 Korean massacre / 朝鮮人虐殺の記録「見当たらない」 政府答弁に安倍氏の影 (Japanese language paywall version)

    • No records, eh?

      Public records detailing the massacre of ethnic Koreans in the aftermath of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake that hit Tokyo and surrounding areas have been found among documents from a survey conducted by Japan’s former Army Ministry.

      The materials show that more than 40 ethnic Koreans among those who were being taken to a police station in what is now Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, ostensibly for their safety, were murdered en masse. Notes include, “A bloodthirsty mob slaughtered every one of them.” The report uses a derogatory term for Koreans and refers to the killings as “massacre,” “wrongdoing” or “illegal conduct,” but also states that Koreans did nothing to provoke the violence, and that there had been no reports of them poisoning wells or starting a fire, as had been rumored.

      The materials show that the government initially recognized the massacres and conducted broad surveys, in spite of then Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno’s remarks this August denying the government possessed any internal documents allowing the truth of the matter to be ascertained.

      ‘Bloodthirsty mob’: Public record of 1923 post-quake massacre of Koreans in Japan found / 関東大震災の朝鮮人虐殺裏付ける政府の新文書発見 陸軍機関作成 (Japanese language paywall version)

  • Apparently, 11,000 refugee applicants this year is “affecting the government’s ability to provide public assistance to support applicants’ daily lives” and that “there is also concern that the increase will prolong the screening period for applicants, which on average takes around 33 months.”:

    Refugee applicants to Japan surge in 2023, may reach record high

    Side note: 33 months is the average amount of time it takes to screen a single refugee applicant?! Sheesh! It’s not like they’re applying for a job at bōeishō (the Ministry of Defense)!

  • Foreigners as the salvation of Japan:

    “The population of the northern Hokkaido area is just under 600,000, but we are mainly the only school that trains care workers. We haven’t been able to attract enough Japanese applicants for admission, and now we can’t reach the capacity without foreigners. We have facilities in place, but we don’t have enough staff to admit elderly people, so foreigners are our savior.”

    Dependency on foreign workers seen in small Japan municipalities as numbers surge / わずか10年で外国人が10倍に増えた地方の小規模自治体の事情 (Japanese language paywall version)

  • So now the LDP wants to try to whitewas the „technical trainee“ system by renaming it into „training employment“. And these „trainees“ will now be allowed to switch companies after „only“ two years, instead of the previous three years. This is just another layer of window dressing after international organizations complained about the system. Same as the anti-hate speech bill and same as the LGBTQ bill.

    Funny how they‘ll literally do anything, except give them a legit immigration status and fair salary.

    • -they‘ll literally do anything, except give them a legit immigration status and fair salary.

      That would be easier, wouldn’t it? I can only conclude they’re broke. And as the Yen continues to decline, Japan will become an even less attractive destination for neighboring economies except the absolutely desperate.

      There is an emerging trend of ex-pats wanting to be paid in USD.
      “I have mortgage(possibly rent it out) in the USA so I don’t want to be screwed over by Yen to $$ conversion to pay monthly bills in US.”

      “The issue is US pay is generally much higher than pay in Japan, so be prepared for them to lower your pay to “match” local pay for similar roles.”

      So, you literally cannot pay Americans (in Yen) to relocate to Japan.

      So much for the Elite Foreigner Program. So much for Abe’s vision of rich foreigners paying into the system then leaving.

      Instead, the reality is an exploitative Trainee Program of Japan’s poorest Asian neighbors. Smacks of the Co -Prosperity Sphere.

  • Former racist CEO of DHC founded his own company and continues to post racist comments on his company‘s website.

    If he weren‘t so racist it would kinda be funny. His ranting about how everyone is secretely Korean and his company is the only „100% pure Japanese company“ reminds me of this meme:

    You really have to have some major problems in your life if you think that almost everyone in Japan is secretly Korean.

    • Wow! That’s some throwback Showa-era racism right there! You don’t often see that kind of right-up-in-your-face nihonjinron giron racism so shamelessly vomited forth these days.
      Most racists have learned to express their racism in more ambiguous terms.

      • Well, according to a gay Japanese friend of mine who should know better, the Japanese occupation of Korea was great for Koreans and they all got to be equal Japanese citizens.

        So, even the Showa Era propaganda does not match up to this guy’s anti Korean racism.

        So I am wondering if this kind of mentality is actually post war in its origins, of you see what I mean. I.e. there is Imperial Era racism as Koreans as inferior subjects of Japan, and then post-war racism against Koreans as The Other who happen to also live and work in Japan in significant numbers. Some naturalize, are they the secret ones he doesn’t like? So, he prefers it is they keep their Korean names and passports (and thus, less rights so perhaps he gets a perverse pleasure out of this exclusionism?)

        What is his beef exactly? Does he elaborate?

    • I no longer see why this kind of Japanese person is so against Koreans, and he had better watch out if he does a genealogy check as its quite possible he has Korean DNA himself.

      Perhaps he is being post modern and ironic, and acknowledging Japan’s historic ties with Korea?

      Ah, no. Thought not. Oh well, I was being hopeful.

      It does not even make geopolitical sense, if he was against mainland China he could justify it on ideological or security lines. Or Europeans, a different race/culture, might have one or two semi-debatable grievances due to differing ways of doing things.

      I can only conclude it is a form of mental illness on his part. It is pathological and quite possibly self-hating (Japanese royal family’s supposed Korean origins).

      There is just no sane reason for having such a pathological hatred of a race so similar to your own.
      Ah, now I am recalling a previous case, a painter from Austria with a pencil-moustache.

      Must be that old WW2 nostalgia again…. (though as I recall Korea was then a part of Japan so they were actually Japanese citizens, wasn’t that supposed to be a plus in imperial propaganda at the time?)

      So, it makes not sense. He is just certifiable.

      • After banning Halloween, Shibuya is trying to ban New Year’s Countdown too. I especially love how JapanToday uses the meme of „save Japan“ in the article: „ attempts to clean up its image after becoming Tokyo’s de-facto street partying center at Halloween, with uncharacteristic-for-Japan levels of crime and mayhem accompanying the widely inebriated costumed revelry, which led to a rather unwelcoming public awareness campaign this year.“

        Is there actually any evidence for their claims? Any evidence that there was „uncharacteristic-for-Japan levels of crime“ (wtf does that word salad phrase even mean?) going on? Can English speaking media stop with the „save Japan“ meme and actually report the facts, based on evidence? I‘m so sick of this. Why does every English speaking media focusing on Japan lately sound worse than the Sankei?

        • >Is there actually any evidence for their claims?

          Doesn’t matter — the Shibuya Ward government is desperate to avoid becoming the next Itaewon, even if that means being a killjoy:

          In view of the increased number of visitors since the summer, the Shibuya Countdown Executive Committee has canceled the Shibuya Countdown Event in front of Shibuya Station because of the difficulty of ensuring safety and security at the event.

          >Can English speaking media stop with the „save Japan“ meme and actually report the facts, based on evidence?

          Well, how about this?: Tokyo’s Toyoko Kids: A Crisis Lurking in Kabukicho’s Neon Lights

          • I think this more a case of reacting to the narrative that ‘foreign’ customs/traditions are inherently dangerous + the narrative that there are many ‘foreigners visiting Shibuya’ solely for these events (a narrative that the media and various national institutions routinely push) despite the reality being that the vast majority of attendees are Japanese and celebrity this place, time, and fashion is essentially a Japanese custom now.
            They are reacting to a story *that they have told themselves* rather than reacting to any observable reality.

      • There is no such thing as Korean DNA or Japanese DNA. It’s just a shorthand for saying bloodlines. But in the world of DNA biology the difference does not exist in that you cannot pick up one person and analyze their DNA and say what nationality they are. Because the US was too kind on Japan after the war the Japan superiority complex has remained even until today. Japan is still a risk to the civilized world because of the underlying cultural myths that everyone is taught.

  • Well this one takes the cake. The Japanese owner of a Chinese restaurant bans Chinese and Korean customers from entering.

    I guess it‘s fine to use foreign culture in order to make money, but if natives want to experience their own culture they are not allowed to. Makes sense.

    • From the article:



      My translation: According to rumors (though they are just rumors), it seems that the proprietor adopted the policy of banning Chinese people from entering the store as a measure against the mycoplasma (pneumonia disease) that is currently prevalent in China because his wife is sick and in poor health.

      This [policy] doesn’t seem to be due to discriminatory feelings or hateful thoughts such as hating Chinese people.

      Maybe this is what is meant by ‘rational discrimination’?

  • At the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva [Foreign Minister Yoko] Kamikawa said that countries hosting refugees “are reaching the limits of their capacity to cope with the increased and protracted forced displacements around the world,” and vowed that Japan will “continue to work to ease the pressure on these countries.”:

    We cannot significantly improve the situation by merely providing food, water, and shelter to vulnerable people. We must adopt a more future-oriented, medium- to long-term approach.

    Great! She announced that the GoJ will be accepting more refugees in 2024, right?

    Japan is helping refugees and displaced persons become independent through education and vocational training. We strongly encourage them to develop their abilities so they can contribute to peace and reconstruction at home.

    Oh. Guess not. It’s just more of the usual GoJ throwing money at the problem.

    Japan vows $3 million to provide education for refugees

    Bonus for those keeping score at home: from the article, only 1,117 people have been recognized as refugees by 2021 out of 91,664 applicants since the GoJ introduced its refugee status recognition program in 1982.

    This equates to a little over 1.2%!

  • Another GoJ visa scheme fail:

    The government initially envisioned that [when it introduced the fourth-generation visa program in 2018], 4,000 people a year would enter Japan this way, but as of the end of 2022, only 128 people were here on that visa program.

    So after 5 years, the government is going to ditch this flop, right?

    Nope! They’re going to keep it alive with the following tweaks:

    * The age limit for prospective entrants will be raised from 30 to 35 (provided they can demonstrate sufficient Nihongo proficiency).

    * Entrants can obtain long-term resident status after 5 years (provided they can demonstrate sufficient Nihongo proficiency).

    * Spouses and children can now accompany the entrants.

    * “Supporters'” involvement will be optional after 3 years.

    I’m sure that with the above hacks, the number of applicants per year will be over 9000!

    Entry conditions eased for ‘yonsei’ wanting to work, reside in Japan / 日系4世の受け入れ拡大へ、入国時の要件など緩和 年内に告示見直し

    Japan to start offering residency to 4th-generation descendants

  • The question is whether Japan is ready for this [demographic] transformation.

    Spoiler alert: No, it isn’t.

    If I’m understanding this episode correctly, immigration officials, under political direction, operate a sort of numbers game that limits the number of non-Japanese who live permanently in this country.

    Life in Japan: Is this country on the cusp of a demographic revolution? / 外国人が共に暮らす社会を望むのか、拒否するのか、決断迫られる社会 (Japanese language paywall version)

  • Police are apprehending an increasing number of foreign male prostitutes on the streets of Yokohama’s Naka Ward following the easing of Japan’s border controls, with authorities considering tougher crackdown measures.

    Ohh…this sounds serious! The J cops must have arrested hundreds of NJ hookers, right?

    Since the beginning of this year, police have apprehended a total five men.

    Wait, only 5 guys? Well, male NJ hookers hanging out in Yokohama must be a recent phenomenon, right?

    According to police, male prostitutes have been seen in Wakabacho and the surrounding districts for at least 10 years.

    Wait, this has been going on for the past 10 years?

    However, following the implementation of COVID-19-related border control measures, among other factors, no foreign men were apprehended for suspected prostitution between 2020 and 2022.

    Ahhh…so ‘increasing’ means going from 0 arrests between 2020 and 2022 to 5 arrests in 2023.

    And according to my calculator, that’s over a 9,000% increase in foreign crime!

    Prostitution is prohibited under the Anti-Prostitution Act, but the law is only applied to women.

    Wait, so what these NJs guys are getting up to isn’t even illegal?!

    Prefectural police have accordingly turned to the local ordinance, which covers “prostitutionlike acts,” to catch male prostitutes on charges of touting and waiting for clients.

    Soo…what constitutes “prostitution-like acts”?

    Oh, I know: foreign-looking at night while being male in Yokohama’s Naka Ward!

    More foreign men apprehended for suspected prostitution in Yokohama after pandemic / 外国人男娼の検挙増加 売春の出稼ぎで来日 神奈川県警など視察

    Also, you might not want to be foreign-looking at night while being male in Tokyo’s Kabukicho district in Shinjuku Ward!:

    Male prostitutes on tourist visas busted in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district / 「客待ち」の男、逮捕 外国籍4人、都条例違反の疑い 歌舞伎町

    • Good lord, (5) NJ men arrested in the capital of the world’s 3rd largest GDP nation for merely trying to meet consenting members of the opposite sex🙄
      I’ve heard Saudi Arabia is getting more open minded though…

    • When your whole identity is based on racial superiority mumbo-jumbo myth cultism you just have no choice but to defend it or you’re left with NOTHING AT ALL!

    • Dr. Debito, for the Third Edition of Embedded Racism, it looks like you’ll need to update The Ekiden Sports Races section in Chapter 5 to include this new handicap.

      In addition, you might want to change this:

      Although non-citizen students (including exchange students) are allowed to compete in events, there are some restrictions.

      to this:

      Although non-citizen students (including exchange students) are allowed to compete in events, there are many restrictions.

    • Shades of Berlin Olympics. At least Hitler let athletes compete fairly.
      “It’s been widely reported that Hitler snubbed Owens. However, by Owens’ own account, Hitler did wave at Owens to acknowledge his achievement. ”

      Seems Japan isnt so confident in its own superiority. I would say its an inferiority complex actually- the myth that America won WW2 as they were physically bigger, etc.

      • Andrew in Saitama says:

        Yep, the two “truths” always repeated:

        1. Size is always an advantage in every single sport. (Caveat: except when the Japanese field the tallest player or they get destroyed by an even shorter NJ – think DeClerk at the 2019 Rugby World Cup)

        2. The Japanese are always smaller than their NJ opponents. Always.

        Here’s an ad from 2008, co-inciding with the Olympics, and I’ve seen variations on this theme in time for practically every Olympics during my 25+ years in this country. We must depict small Japanese defeating much larger NJ.

    • I think this is also ironically connected to Japan’s
      1. Inferiority Complex i.e. that foreigners win because they’re physically bigger and stronger (ignoring the fact that Japanese youth are getting bigger and stronger)
      2. Wa. Let’s not alienate that one kid sulking in the corner because he didn’t get a medal or a prize. ALL participants are rewarded.
      “Minna wa gambateru kara”. I was oft taken to task by the J-ex for criticizing poor performers in any genre or industry. She insisted nothing negative could be said of anyone, ever, because they had at least tried. While I would debate that, it is a very widely held Japanese sentiment.
      Caveat: they can laugh at you, the foreigner, much more easily though as you’re outside the hierarchy so no obvious repercussions (until they find out you’re a CEO or a celeb. Ooops!)
      3. Education system. Similar to #2. All students must pass.
      4. Groupism/Uchi and Soto/Village Mentality. Combination of #2 plus post Meiji Nationalism. You are Japanese thus you are entitled to certain social benefits. Never mind the Elephant in the Room, that taxes are rising, salaries are falling, and the Yen is so worthless now expats want to be paid in USD. Never mind that- you are are in Abe’s Beautiful Country.

      Therefore there is Sports Apartheid. A bit like trans women not being allowed to compete in women’s sports. NJs supposedly should have their own “separate but equal (haha)” league or competition. Because apparently foreigners have a “biological advantage” from birth or went through gaijin puberty overseas.

      The sports Oricon chart. Yet more Japanese Only; as they are afraid they will suck.

    • Japan never learns. So much for omotenashi, attracting elite foreigners, investment etc. Wacist landlords/estate agents are really letting the side down.

      They don’t foreigners, just foreigners’ good stuff. UPDATE: they no longer have the disposable income to even buy foreign stuff.

  • Oh boo hoo, my heart breaks for the hard working land owning capitalist. Maybe if you paid those “trainees” a living wage and not just 160,000 yen per month, you wouldn’t have these problems. He also claims that hiring “trainees” is “too expensive”, since it apparently costs 300,000 yen per person per month, but nowhere does he mention how much it costs to hire a Japanese worker. 160,000 yen is basically minimum wage, why should Japanese people work for you? Either raise your wages, or suck it up.

    • Interesting.
      Find one horror story + generalize it wildly across the whole sector = formula to talk themselves out of having to take responsibility for changing anything.
      Job done.
      Look, this guy says coming to work in Japan put him a million ¥ in the whole before he even got here AND then he’s expected to work for minimum wage in the middle of nowhere? Yeah, that’s a great recipe for success you got there…

  • While I’m at it, I wish I had 100¥ for every person I met since New Year that told me that the people on the JAL flight at Haneda would all be dead if they were American because Americans ‘panic’ and ‘don’t follow rules’ and ‘are selfish’. I’ve been told that ‘foreigners think it’s a miracle that no one died, but it’s because the passengers were all Japanese and Japanese culture is to cooperate and follow rules.’
    None of the people I’ve spoken to knew that the evacuation took 16 and a half minutes longer than the mandated safe evacuation time for passenger aircraft operation (90 seconds). Apparently Japanese news is glossing over the fact that people stood around waiting for a decision to open the doors, with fire outside the windows and smoke in the cabin, for over 15 minutes.
    Instead, their focus is on some ‘myth’ of Japanese uniqueness.
    So far, I’m just replying with ‘Airbus. Great company isn’t it? Not Japanese…’

    Also, anyone noticed that the UK is having a post office scandal driven by faulty Fujitsu software that saw hundreds of (wrongful) criminal convictions amongst its users?
    Haven’t these people heard of Ghosn? Woodford?

    • JDG, luv your posts, but just to put the last comment to rest. Fujitsu didn’t develop the software that caused the British post office wrongful convictions. Fujitsu bought the company – ICL Pathway (British) – who developed the Horizon software that the British Post Office was already using when the buyout of ICL happened. Fujitsu’s ‘sin’ was that it knew that the server side code was faulty, especially the ARQs, and kept silent about it, when innocent people were being convicted and imprisoned of fraud in British courts. However, although it’s hard to discover because of Japanese press self-censorship, most of the problems that Japan is presently suffering in digital crashes, from Mizuho banking to “MyNumber'”, is because of Fujitsu bad coding. There’s nothing funnier that watching a native Japanese bucho, who can’t write a line of javaScript or PHP, being “educated” on how programming language works by an Indian contractor, who’s on three times the bucho’s salary; that’s

    • Well Wikipedia says ” Forty-three foreign nationals[43] and eight children were on board.” And quotes this article as source:

      So “all passengers were Japanese” is false anyway.

      I love how they phrase it in the article though: “Of the 367 passengers, 43 were foreign nationals, JAL said, adding they also readily followed the company’s instructions and evacuated with no problems.”

      Why do they have to single out foreigners again and claim that they “also” followed instructions, as if it’s something that usually doesn’t happen?

      I also love this bit: “The spirit of mutual assistance also drew positive responses from foreign visitors to Japan.”

      And then continues with these gems: “Japanese people…follow instructions and they consider people around them,” he said. “Every time I come here, everything is very orderly” as exemplified by people waiting in line for public transportation.

      “I think those characteristics of Japanese culture contributed to the safety of every single one of those people getting off the airplane,” he added.

      Chase Williams, a 35-year-old traveling from Cambodia, said, “They weren’t trying to get their stuff off. Passengers were being selfless.”

      More myths and memes about Japan. You literally can’t make this up. I guess none of these people ever watched the TV show ” Air Crash Investigation”, or read a Wikipedia article about past airplane crashes. It’s pretty normal that survivors stick together and evacuate quickly. Do they really think that people in other countries would kill themselves over who gets to evacuate first?

      Also, let’s not forget the worst single aircraft crash in history, JAL flight 123, where the Japanese government refused the help of the US Air Force and therefore let several survivors die. So much for Japanese culture and being organized.

      Btw I think I won’t fly with any Japanese airline anytime soon, because it looks like foreigner passengers are being singled out and treated differently. And I still remember the racist ANA add Debito talked about here a few years ago.

      Funny thing is that instagram is pushing some ANA content to me recently. All of their videos are young and attractive flight attendants doing some stupid viral dances and lip synching to songs. Reminds me of flight attendants in the 70s and 80s, where only attractive virgin women could become one. Definitely not going to attract me to your airline.

      —- Again, links to sources.

      • Well I did put up the link to the kyodo news article which I quoted from.

        About JAL 123, I‘m sorry, but I‘m an aviation enthusiast and I thought that everything I mentioned was common knowledge (maybe not).

        The Wikipedia article is well written and mentiones everything that I said, ie. it being the deadliest single-aircraft accident in aviation history and the section called „ Delayed rescue operation“ talks about how the Japanese government refused to enlist the help of the the US Air Force helicopter that reported survivors and therefore doomed their own citizens that originally survived the crash.

        To quote a bit from there: „ Medical staff later found bodies with injuries suggesting that people had survived the crash only to die from shock, exposure overnight in the mountains, or injuries that, if tended to earlier, would not have been fatal.[19] One doctor said, “If the discovery had come 10 hours earlier, we could have found more survivors.”[24]

        One of the four survivors, off-duty Japan Air Lines flight purser Yumi Ochiai (落合 由美, Ochiai Yumi) recounted from her hospital bed that she recalled bright lights and the sound of helicopter rotors shortly after she awoke amid the wreckage, and while she could hear screaming and moaning from other survivors, these sounds gradually died away during the night.“

        As for the ANA commercials on instagram, I don‘t know if you need a source for that, but you just have to go to their instagram account.

        You‘ll see that a lot of their posts are attractive female flight attendants doing stupid things, that have nothing to do with their job. I have no idea why this gets promoted to me that heavily (probably because I fly a lot I assume).

        • Good post.
          The crash of JAL123 is a tale of exemplary piloting from the flight crew, the horror of passengers photographing a huge part of the airplane as it falls away from them, the absolutely ‘Japaneseness myth narrative’ driven refusal of US help, the incompetent Japanese rescue effort, and the CRIMINAL disregarding of Boeing repair instructions and cosmetic attempt at repair by JAL that led to catastrophic disaster in the first place!
          And don’t get me started on JAL350😡

  • Gunma governor wants to abolish the nationality requirement for prefectural government employees.

    But the LDP from the national level opposes it, so the plans seem to be on ice for now. Does anyone else have a feeling of deja vu? Reminds me of this story where a city wanted to get local (non binding) referendum votings rights for foreigners, which failed because the national level LDP xenophobes stepped in.

    Maybe the LDP should concentrate on themselves, since they currently have to disband their biggest faction due to corruption, instead of telling governors how to govern their prefectures.


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