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Hi Blog. We have the news of local governments calling upon the national government to do something to help the NJ residents under their charge. Some things just aren’t amendable without national government directives. Like a dedicated agency to deal with immigration.
That’s good news. The problem is, these local governments have been doing this for years now: Consider the Hamamatsu Sengen (2001), Toyoda Sengen (2004) and Yokkaichi Sengen (2006), which demanded just about the same thing. And it will be the same thing I demand in my next Japan Times column, due out next Tuesday, December 1. Have a read.
Local governments want to be nice to their NJ. It’s just that the elite Edokko bureaucrats in Kasumigaseki just don’t care. They don’t want to help NJ settle and make a life here. The people in charge of NJ affairs, mostly the Ministry of Justice, just want to control and police them. And that is pretty short-sighted, given that Japan needs immigration, and the less attractive Tokyo’s mandarins make Japan look to immigrants, the more likely the ones that will help Japan most will pass Japan by for better opportunities in other more open societies. Again, more in my JT article on Tuesday. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Municipalities calls for gov’t agency to help foreigners
Kyodo News/Japan Today Friday 27th November, courtesy of John, Aly and others
TOKYO — Representatives from Japanese municipalities holding a large number of foreign residents called for the central government Thursday to set up a new agency aimed at improving the livelihoods of foreign people living in the country.
The proposal by a group of 28 municipalities in seven prefectures said they have recognized the need for the government to create such an entity so that foreign people in Japan would be better off at a time of economic difficulties. They also proposed that foreigners have the same rights and responsibilities as Japanese nationals and make it mandatory for children with foreign nationality to attend schools in Japan.
8 comments on “Kyodo: Municipal govts call for GOJ agency to help foreigners. Again.”
What I don’t understand is why China hasn’t picked up on the fact that Japan does so much to disaffect people who try to stay and live here.
Someone I know mentioned that I could always “use my Japan experience” to go back to America and work for a Japanese company. But arguably, people with the right resume can go back home and lobby for the Chinese government, referring to their unfortunate Japan experiences.
I would think China soft-power strategists would be tapping into this vein and channeling it for China’s best interests as best they could. Maybe I’m not seeing something.
The Edokko Elite as you call them, Debito, are playing a game suited to the cold war era. Behind the times as is so typical.
— I bet the big difference is that unlike Japan, the PRC is a net exporter of people. It’s not a place that is a destination for migrant workers, save those within its own borders.
With the twin tsunamis of debt and demographics about to engulf Japan within the next decade, you would think migrants who contribute to the economy, pay taxes and have children would be more welcomed.
Japan shoots itself in the foot with its own insularity.
I think you’re barking up the wrong tree on this one. J-bureaucrat elites are foreign educated and generally more conscious of (and worried about) the need for immigration than the overall population, in my experience. They also are not generally from Tokyo, but instead drawn from all over the country via national examination. I blame organized right-wingers, 2ch net-uyoku types, etc. for crying bloody murder every time someone not of the Yamato people enters the country, thus prolonging LDP control up to the present.
The saddest thing is that we can’t know WHO exactly is the person in Japanese government who makes things so difficult. So we can get them.
If the people would only just come out of the shadows, it would just be so much more efficient that way.
It’s obvious to anyone from elsewhere who lives here that there are people who make things difficult. If they would only stand up and admit it, so they can get gotten.
— Obviously they won’t. It’s common knowledge that anonymity behind power just accentuates the power — that’s why liberal democracies frown upon it. And aim to make people with power electable and accountable. In theory, anyway, but that’s the aim.
There is plenty of writing out there about power in Japan without accountability or identity. Start with Karel van Wolferen and work you way out.
I would disagree with Bob here. I really doubt a large portion of the high flying J.Bs (J-bureaucrats) are foreign educated.
— So would I. Source for the assertion?
Fascinating article in the NY Times today about assimilation of the offspring of multicultural marriages in South Korea.
Elite bureaucrats at MOFA, METI, MOF, etc. all study at elite graduate schools in Europe and the US for 2 years after a few years of government service- one of the few remaining perks attracting top Todai grads. Go to any reasonably elite European or American graduate school of government, law, public policy, even business, and there they are. At a cocktail party a year or so ago which predominately comprised such people, one ranted to me about how Japan needs to attract more immigrants, including Chinese and Koreans. Another asked me for advice about how to make Japan more friendly to tourists. Another more recently vented his frustration about Japan’s closedness to immigration. Etc., etc., etc. Many care and want to help. I don’t think monolithically they are the problem.
— My experience with elite bureaucrats (although generally not at cocktail parties — more as opponents during policy proposals) is quite the opposite. We need a bit more substantiation, if you have it, thanks. And overseas education is no guarantee against insularity. The policies speak for themselves and they are indeed insular.
not a lot of info is available apparently, but this substantiates my experience.
Also, the policies may speak for the policies, but they do not speak for the bureaucrats. Discretion is limited by their political minders, and to remain relevant, they can’t stray far from the ruling party line.
Immigration only gets tough on western foreigners when politicians like Ishihara and Aso make them, and police are usually only bad when they are ignorant bigots or again directed by politicians like Ishihara. Bureaucrats are scapegoats. Politicians pull the strings, and lobbyists (such as 暴力団, business lobbies, unions, etc.), are behind them, as in all democracies.
If you want more substantiation, email me a phone number – I would be happy to discuss my experiences privately. I would also be interested to hear of your policy issues with MOJ.
— Thanks. Well, we’ll have to fundamentally agree to disagree if you think that politicians in Japan are more powerful than the bureaucrats vis-a-vis public policy. Even PM Hatoyama says he wants to put policymaking back in the hands of elected officials…