Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Naive and Xenophobic

Well, according to Japan, all terrorists are foreigners. All criminals are too. We can, of course at this point conveniently overlook a couple of facts, such as there never having been a foreign terrorist in Japan. In fact, in most terrorist attacks, haven't the perpetrators been home-grown? Think IRA, think ETA, think suicide bombers....

And let's not forget the majority of serious crimes here are also done by Japanese and not by foreigners...

So, the news that from next month every foreigner entering Japan will be forced to be fingerprinted and photographed, regardless of your status, regardless of whether you have permanent residency, regardless of whether you have been here 20+ years, regardless of whether you are on a family register and have kids here. Regardless. Every foreigner is going to be treated the same.

Japanese people will not have to be photographed or fingerprinted at immigration. I'm sorry, but this is making my blood boil. I think it's absolutely disgusting.

If you want more information then you can watch this nauseating government video explaining it.

I love Japan. Most foreigners that I know here also love Japan. However, foreigners are treated as second-class citizens here, and this is just making things worse.


Of course, the other big news here has been the suspension of business of NOVA, one of the largest language school chains in Japan. There are so many links to this story that I don't know where to start but here's one: stranded teachers.

In a nutshell, this company got caught out screwing it's students (false advertising, etc) a few months ago and by way of punishment wasn't allowed to take on any new students for a period of time. This hit them so heavily that the Japanese staff haven't been paid since June, teachers haven't been paid since September and students - many of whom paid for TWO YEARS of lessons up front - have all been fucked over. 1000s of teachers are now stranded.

What effect this will have on the rest of the industry is to be seen. Unlike the UK, Japan doesn't have a tradition of evening classes at local colleges, etc, so unless you are of school age and can go to extra lessons at Juku (cram school) - you don't really have much choice if you want to continue studying English, I guess.

But time will tell.


As for the rest: lots of working, drinking, movies.... All good. And the weather has got warmer.


Blogger machiruda said...

The fingerprints are back, huh... I had to do them on the first alien registration card I got 9 (eek!) years ago, but never had to do it again. Can't believe they're bringing it back in.

> However, foreigners are treated as second-class citizens here, and this is just making things worse. <

Exactly the reason why I don't want to be in Japan long-term, no matter how much I like the country....

5:28 am

Blogger Nix said...

aaaargh.... fingerprinting! how I detested that at US immigration when I used to travel on an Indian passport.

and re NOVA - the friend who I stayed with back in April is sadly out in the cold (literally).

6:37 am

Blogger Sigsy said...

Interestingly, I am not that bothered by this new fingerprinting thing.
I gave it a lot of thought and I'm just not that bothered.
I asked a couple of my buddies this week if they are bothered. All long termers here (5+ years) and they are not bothered either. Except that we possibly can't use the quick queue at the airport any more!
There are some fun discussions on the 'gaijin' bulletin boards that represent many different points of view. Particularly about 'it is my right to live here' VS 'It is my privelege to live here'.
Anyway, just thought I'd let you know that there are some people who aren't too bothered.

1:26 pm

Blogger Jo said...

sigsy - wait til you're waiting with the riff-raff in the tourist queue!

narita, at least, (and only narita), will have a third channel apparantly for fast tracking you after you've been fingerprinted the first time. or something like that.

6:43 pm

Anonymous Alex Case said...

Say you have half Japanese kids with you and they are supposed to go to one queue and you the other, then what??

It's a mistake to think this is something the majority of Japanese think is a good idea though. Thinking through the electoral politics of an idea always helps with this not blaming it on everyone thing. Here's how the population divides:
- Foreigners can't vote, and their numbers, influence, connections to other people of influence and ability to affect the country by voting with their feet are minimal, so they don't count
- The left wingers who think it is a disgrace are never going to vote for the LDP or any other party that will get in power anyway, so their opinions don't count
- The vast majority of Japanese people could be persuaded either way if it ever came to their attention, but they are too busy with celebrity gossip so there is no danger of that, so they don't count until some scandal happens
- The minority who get really steamed about immigration are about the only section of Japanese society that is not afraid of making a big fuss and embarrassing themselves and the government, so they count big time
- Big business and their supporters in government know they will never be able to sell the idea of more legal immigration, so they use tactics like this to keep the anti-immigration punters happy so that illegal immigration and the drop in wages and conditions of workers can carry on- not unique to Japan this one!

TEFLtastic blog- "All the truth that's fit to teach"- www.tefl.net/alexcase

6:28 pm

Blogger Jo said...

Alex - if you have half-Japanese kids with you? well, it just means the non- Japanese citizen queue will be longer because it will be too inconvenient for families to split themselves between two queues.

'It's a mistake to think the majority of Japanese think this is a good idea' - do the majority of Japanese know or even care about this? All you have to do is listen to our college kids talking to realise the 'foreigners are criminals' opinion is installed in people who may have little other opinions at time.

I mean this is a country where bells are rung in an office in an evening to remind people it's time for them to take a break.

As for the rest - I've not really discussed it with any Japanese as I feel a bit too strongly about it to do so.

Increasing legal immigration in Japan will be problematic as it's not a country that's designed for non-Japanese speakers - unless you want to come and teach or be a hostess.

7:21 pm


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