Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
After reading “State to aid foreigners in dire financial straits,” (December 25th) I thought how much longer will the media report with metaphorically raised eyebrows that permanent foreign residents here are/will be entitled to benefit from government policies equally with Japanese citizens? Why is it surprising? Do Japanese think that foreign governments will help us while we livein Japan in these hard times?
I understand that it is newsworthy that the government of Prime Minster Taro Aso is considering giving permanent foreign residents the same fiscal gift being planned and budgeted for Japanese citizens to stimulate consumer spending. But I do not understand why it is SO newsworthy! I am a permanent foreign resident. Japanese may think of me as having a “home country” somewhere else, but as far as I am concerned, Japan IS my home country. I mean, this is where my home is, my only home. I live here and I will probably retire and die here, too.
I am disenfranchised, but I pay my taxes and other required monies to society, which means that Prime Minister Aso is MY prime minister. His salary, like that of all public servants - doctors, police, fire fighters, teachers, librarians, customs officers, meat inspectors, civil servants, etc. - comes from my pocket, which makes him my employee. The government here is my government, although I have no voice in it and it certainly does not represent me. The Emperor is my emperor, since my money is used to support him. So why should it be exceedingly newsworthy that under the government’s plan permanent residents may receive money equally with our Japanese neighbors as part of the planned economic stimulus package. I will spend the money here, just as my neighbors will. Where else would I spend
Printed on Sunday, December 28, 2008 as “With a fiscal stimulus for all.”
I’m glad that this one was printed so fast - only three days after faxing it to the paper, and before the end of the calendar year as well. The end of the calendar year is like a deadline and I did not think I would manage to get another letter published before it expired. This letter sets a precedent in that for the first time the paper has published ideas that I have written several times before - that the Prime Minister of Japan is my employee by reason of my paying tax in this country, and that therefore the exchange of money between me and the government here establishes an obligation to me, by them. I have written that, or similar thoughts several times but they have never been printed. The paper did omit my comment about the Emperor being my employee, on the same grounds as the Prime Minister is, but that might have been only because it was off the topic of me benefiting equally with Japanese citizens form the fiscal policies of the elected government led by the prime minister. The Emperor, after all, is a figurehead, not a member of the government. The paper also edited out my comment that the government does not represent me. About disenfranchisement I wrote that the government here is my government by reason of my contribution towards the support of society, but that I had no voice in it and that it therefore did not represent me. The paper included my remark about not having a voice in my government, but it omitted the remark about it not represent me. I regret that, because it is a strong and important point, I think.