Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Minister in charge of administrative reform and gender equality Haruko Arimura’s anecdote about seeing an Indonesian relative’s nanny sleeping on a hotel floor sounds interesting, but it really isn’t. It only sounds that way. (“Women before migrants: official,” Thursday, May 14, 2015). I think she’s trying but failing to make a relevant point within the scope of her government portfolio. But most of her comments seem to fail to reach that threshold. She’s just wagging her tongue with tripe.
Three times the story issues vague warnings about social resentment, unease and dissatisfaction as possible trickle-down effects of increased immigration. Never mind that harmony, or wa, is a myth for starters and Japan is riddled with native disharmony, dissatisfaction and resentment. Maybe the addition of more foreigners would settle things down a bit. Japanese prisons are filled with Japanese felons, and statistically immigrants are more law abiding than the natives.
Even so, the minister reflexively frames immigration as a crime issue, thereby demonstrating the tiger’s inability to change its stripes. I object to her premises. By repeating the standard Japanese excuse she dodges the opportunity and the burden of taking a sounder stand on matters. In addition, her statement that “There are things we should do before we talk about” the Pandora’s box of immigration is insultingly disingenuous in the way that it carelessly ignores the fact that the current demographic situation was sufficiently predicted in the 1960s. The government has had over fifty years to plan and do what it “should” do, and it hasn’t. So be quiet!
I think there is a lingering notion among Japanese - a notion that continues to be exposed in Arimura’s remarks - that Japanese are vulnerable to dangerous foreigners, and that constitutes another reason to resist large scale immigration. But I find the opposite to be true. In Japan it is vulnerable foreigners who are endangered by, or suffer at the hands of dangerous Japanese. Japanese are soooooo dangerous!!