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Welcome to Japan

November 26, 2007

I love Japan. Ever since I was a kid I was attracted to the culture, the history, the language, and many other aspects. When I was finally able to travel there and more importantly live there, it was fabulous. Granted, there were trials and aspects of the country pissed me off at times but let’s be honest, that happens wherever you live. As my friends and family are well aware, during my last foray into moving to Japan, things didn’t work out quite the way I had hoped (hence my being in Hong Kong at the moment) but I still have many friends there and I am thankful that I’m able to head back at least once a year to visit them and spend time in the country that feels like my second home. I still maintain that I will go back to live there one day.

Unfortunately , particularly at the governmental level, Japan remains insular and xenophobic. They want to reap the benefits of being world players but don’t really want to play with the rest of the world. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed last week when the Japanese government took a huge step backwards on November 20th by finally enacting revised protocols to their immigration and refugee act: mandatory fingerprinting and photos will be taken of all non-Japanese each time they enter the country. The extra bit over and above what occurs in the United States is that it also applies to even the non-Japanese who are nationalized. In some cases, these are people who have been living in Japan for decades.

Much of this is rationalized in order to fight the ‘war on terror’ and to protect both the Japanese people and foreign residents. Sadly, that’s all crap. The only terrorist activities to occur in Japan in decades were perpetrated by Japanese nationals. The other reason given for the new immigration protocols is to counter crime by foreigners. All you have to do is look at any newspaper to discover that in reality, crime rates by non-Japanese are not only miniscule but generally of the non-violent variety. Violent crime done to Japanese by Japanese is pervasive.

As can well be imagined, the foreign community in is outraged. Unfortunately, since there had been little news coverage within Japan many Japanese nationals never even knew about the new legislation until well after the fact. For more on the whole story you can visit the following websites.

Mainichi Daily News

Japan Times

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Yukie permalink
    November 26, 2007 10:53 pm

    I couldn’t agree with what you wrote more!
    Our government went mad and they had no idea on human rights for people coming to Japan from abroad. ( I intended not to use word foreigner here.)
    They should be ashamed for what they’ve done.


  2. June 14, 2008 1:20 pm

    Gordon Shkurhan,
    hurmm, here’s a muse for you. Picture ‘fat Japan’ 😉


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