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clementine
Apr 23rd, 2009, 08:53 PM
Not surprising since Japan is one of the most openly racist countries in modern society.

Japan Pays Foreign Workers to Go Home
by Hiroko Tabuchi
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Officials in Hamamatsu, an industrial town in central Japan, describe the plan to encourage Latin American guest workers, who are descendants of Japanese emigrants, to return home.

Rita Yamaoka, a mother of three who immigrated from Brazil, recently lost her factory job here. Now, Japan has made her an offer she might not be able to refuse.

The government will pay thousands of dollars to fly Mrs. Yamaoka; her husband, who is a Brazilian citizen of Japanese descent; and their family back to Brazil. But in exchange, Mrs. Yamaoka and her husband must agree never to seek to work in Japan again.

“I feel immense stress. I’ve been crying very often,” Mrs. Yamaoka, 38, said after a meeting where local officials detailed the offer in this industrial town in central Japan.

“I tell my husband that we should take the money and go back,” she said, her eyes teary. “We can’t afford to stay here much longer.”

Japan’s offer, extended to hundreds of thousands of blue-collar Latin American immigrants, is part of a new drive to encourage them to leave this recession-racked country. So far, at least 100 workers and their families have agreed to leave, Japanese officials said.

But critics denounce the program as shortsighted, inhumane and a threat to what little progress Japan has made in opening its economy to foreign workers.

“It’s a disgrace. It’s cold-hearted,” said Hidenori Sakanaka, director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, an independent research organization.

“And Japan is kicking itself in the foot,” he added. “We might be in a recession now, but it’s clear it doesn’t have a future without workers from overseas.”

The program is limited to the country’s Latin American guest workers, whose Japanese parents and grandparents emigrated to Brazil and neighboring countries a century ago to work on coffee plantations.

In 1990, Japan — facing a growing industrial labor shortage — started issuing thousands of special work visas to descendants of these emigrants. An estimated 366,000 Brazilians and Peruvians now live in Japan.

The guest workers quickly became the largest group of foreign blue-collar workers in an otherwise immigration-averse country, filling the so-called three-K jobs (kitsui, kitanai, kiken — hard, dirty and dangerous).

But the nation’s manufacturing sector has slumped as demand for Japanese goods evaporated, pushing unemployment to a three-year high of 4.4 percent. Japan’s exports plunged 45.6 percent in March from a year earlier, and industrial production is at its lowest level in 25 years.

New data from the Japanese trade ministry suggested manufacturing output could rise in March and April, as manufacturers start to ease production cuts. But the numbers could have more to do with inventories falling so low that they need to be replenished than with any increase in demand.

While Japan waits for that to happen, it has been keen to help foreign workers leave, which could ease pressure on domestic labor markets and the unemployment rolls.

“There won’t be good employment opportunities for a while, so that’s why we’re suggesting that the Nikkei Brazilians go home,” said Jiro Kawasaki, a former health minister and senior lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

“Nikkei” visas are special visas granted because of Japanese ancestry or association.

Mr. Kawasaki led the ruling party task force that devised the repatriation plan, part of a wider emergency strategy to combat rising unemployment.

Under the emergency program, introduced this month, the country’s Brazilian and other Latin American guest workers are offered $3,000 toward air fare, plus $2,000 for each dependent — attractive lump sums for many immigrants here. Workers who leave have been told they can pocket any amount left over.

But those who travel home on Japan’s dime will not be allowed to reapply for a work visa. Stripped of that status, most would find it all but impossible to return. They could come back on three-month tourist visas. Or, if they became doctors or bankers or held certain other positions, and had a company sponsor, they could apply for professional visas.

Spain, with a unemployment rate of 15.5 percent, has adopted a similar program, but immigrants are allowed to reclaim their residency and work visas after three years.

Japan is under pressure to allow returns. Officials have said they will consider such a modification, but have not committed to it.

“Naturally, we don’t want those same people back in Japan after a couple of months,” Mr. Kawasaki said. “Japanese taxpayers would ask, ‘What kind of ridiculous policy is this?’ ”

The plan came as a shock to many, especially after the government introduced a number of measures in recent months to help jobless foreigners, including free Japanese-language courses, vocational training and job counseling. Guest workers are eligible for limited cash unemployment benefits, provided they have paid monthly premiums.

“It’s baffling,” said Angelo Ishi, an associate professor in sociology at Musashi University in Tokyo. “The Japanese government has previously made it clear that they welcome Japanese-Brazilians, but this is an insult to the community.”

It could also hurt Japan in the long run. The aging country faces an impending labor shortage. The population has been falling since 2005, and its working-age population could fall by a third by 2050. Though manufacturers have been laying off workers, sectors like farming and care for the elderly still face shortages.[/b]

But Mr. Kawasaki said the economic slump was a good opportunity to overhaul Japan’s immigration policy as a whole.

“We should stop letting unskilled laborers into Japan. We should make sure that even the three-K jobs are paid well, and that they are filled by Japanese,” he said. “I do not think that Japan should ever become a multiethnic society.”

He said the United States had been “a failure on the immigration front,” and cited extreme income inequalities between rich Americans and poor immigrants.

At the packed town hall meeting in Hamamatsu, immigrants voiced disbelief that they would be barred from returning. Angry members of the audience converged on officials. Others walked out of the meeting room.

“Are you saying even our children will not be able to come back?” one man shouted.

“That is correct, they will not be able to come back,” a local labor official, Masahiro Watai, answered calmly.

Claudio Nishimori, 30, said he was considering returning to Brazil because his shifts at a electronics parts factory were recently reduced. But he felt anxious about going back to a country he had left so long ago.

“I’ve lived in Japan for 13 years. I’m not sure what job I can find when I return to Brazil,” he said. But his wife has been unemployed since being laid off last year and he can no longer afford to support his family.

Mrs. Yamaoka and her husband, Sergio, who settled here three years ago at the height of the export boom, are undecided. But they have both lost jobs at auto factories. Others have made up their minds to leave. About 1,000 of Hamamatsu’s Brazilian inhabitants left the city before the aid was even announced. The city’s Brazilian elementary school closed last month.

“They put up with us as long as they needed the labor,” said Wellington Shibuya, who came six years ago and lost his job at a stove factory in October. “But now that the economy is bad, they throw us a bit of cash and say goodbye.”

He recently applied for the government repatriation aid and is set to leave in June.

“We worked hard; we tried to fit in. Yet they’re so quick to kick us out,” he said. “I’m happy to leave a country like this.”

woosey
Apr 23rd, 2009, 09:33 PM
this is so messed up.

they, more than a lot of countries, actually need immigrants.

LeonHart
Apr 23rd, 2009, 09:53 PM
this is so messed up.

they, more than a lot of countries, actually need immigrants.

I'm guessing you've never been to Japan....

And labeling an entire country racist makes you racist as well :rolleyes:

woosey
Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:03 PM
I'm guessing you've never been to Japan....

And labeling an entire country racist makes you racist as well :rolleyes:

i'm guessing your reading comprehension level is pretty low because i did not say the country was racist. never used the word. now, the original poster in the title of the thread call japan racist. read it. it's right there for you to see. i'm afraid i can't help you with your language skills. but, at least try to direct your pathetic attacks at the right person.

it is a fact that japan does need foreign workers. one does not need to go there to know that. one also does not need to got there to know that they prefer a more homogeneous country.

Expat
Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:06 PM
UAE Spain etc do the same. Nothing unusual here.

LeonHart
Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:13 PM
i'm guessing your reading comprehension level is pretty low because i did not say the country was racist. never used the word. now, the original poster in the title of the thread call japan racist. read it. it's right there for you to see. i'm afraid i can't help you with your language skills. but, at least try to direct your pathetic attacks at the right person.

it is a fact that japan does need foreign workers. one does not need to go there to know that. one also does not need to got there to know that they prefer a more homogeneous country.

I didn't direct the second comment to you. Chill out.

And if Japan needed foreign workers now, why are they sending them away? The fact is Japan is very crowded, and most people's entire apartment in Japan are no bigger than a normal room here in the U.S.

Also if Japan is so "racist" (talking to the OP) why are they encouraging people of Japanese descent to leave?

LeonHart
Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:16 PM
UAE Spain etc do the same. Nothing unusual here.

We all know how racists those Spaniards are :devil:

woosey
Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:20 PM
I didn't direct the second comment to you. Chill out.

And if Japan needed foreign workers now, why are they sending them away? The fact is Japan is very crowded, and most people's entire apartment in Japan are no bigger than a normal room here in the U.S.

Also if Japan is so "racist" (talking to the OP) why are they encouraging people of Japanese descent to leave?

well don't quote me and direct the statement to me. :rolleyes:

Scotso
Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:59 PM
I'm guessing you've never been to Japan....

And labeling an entire country racist makes you racist as well :rolleyes:

I don't think saying a country is "racist" is the same as saying "all Japanese are racist." It's more pointing out a trend, one that is actually pretty true. Just look at Japanese textbooks on WWII.

spiceboy
Apr 23rd, 2009, 11:52 PM
We all know how racists those Spaniards are :devil:

Are you the same person who just said that?

And labeling an entire country racist makes you racist as well :rolleyes:

:weirdo:

spiceboy
Apr 23rd, 2009, 11:56 PM
I'll be living in Japan next year...been there before and never encountered any problem...

And I'm 1,85 with green eyes and hair on my chest and legs (just like a random Japanese xD)...nobody could care less about me while walking naked in the ofuro. So no big deal there :yawn:

Scotso
Apr 24th, 2009, 12:29 AM
I'll be living in Japan next year...been there before and never encountered any problem...

And I'm 1,85 with green eyes and hair on my chest and legs (just like a random Japanese xD)...nobody could care less about me while walking naked in the ofuro. So no big deal there :yawn:

Maybe you're not the targeted race?

spiceboy
Apr 24th, 2009, 12:34 AM
Maybe you're not the targeted race?

You Americans are freakishly obsessed with racism...do you honestly think it's all this about race? If there are rich Brazilians coming to Japan to spend their $$$ it will be fine believe me, it's all about money as usual :rolleyes:

Hayato
Apr 24th, 2009, 12:41 AM
And labeling an entire country racist makes you racist as well :rolleyes:

We all know how racists those Spaniards are :devil:

Lmao :spit: :ignore:

Pasta-Na
Apr 24th, 2009, 12:48 AM
I'll be living in Japan next year...been there before and never encountered any problem...

And I'm 1,85 with green eyes and hair on my chest and legs (just like a random Japanese xD)...nobody could care less about me while walking naked in the ofuro. So no big deal there :yawn:

lmao :rolls:

Lin Lin
Apr 24th, 2009, 01:53 AM
Can this be considered as "racist"?I don't agree with you:shrug:

Scotso
Apr 24th, 2009, 01:56 AM
You Americans are freakishly obsessed with racism...do you honestly think it's all this about race? If there are rich Brazilians coming to Japan to spend their $$$ it will be fine believe me, it's all about money as usual :rolleyes:

How funny that you stereotype all Americans while attempting to criticize others for obsession with groups.

LeonHart
Apr 24th, 2009, 02:34 AM
Lovin how people cannot see my sarcasm by my :devil: face ;) Keep em comin!

Hachiko
Apr 24th, 2009, 03:02 AM
I'm not really very educated on this particular issue but I think xenophobic is a better term. Japan is such a unique place; the language, customs, etiquette, the people and their way of thinking is akin to Japan alone. I think therein lies the root of the problem.

However, Japan's attitudes towards foreigners is very complex. There is nothing clear nor conspicuous about their outlook, therefore labeling Japan as racist is definitely not true.

It would depend upon your definition of racism but in this respect, I don't think it's fair to generalise. Every country has issues of discrimination and racism, and Japan, by comparison, has probably the least harmful forms of that type. In other words, there is very little blatant action against foreigners like there is in other countries. Rather than means of physical violence, threats, etc. it is passive, inert, reflective of general Japanese social behaviour itself. Even then we are only talking about a very small minority.

It is safe to say workers from low-income backgrounds as well as Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, etc. are unfairly looked down upon. On the other hand, how someone is treated in Japan is mirrored by how much effort that person makes to blend in with Japanese culture. It is inevitable for people who don't make an effort to learn the language or cultural etiquette to come across Japanese resentment. I do sympathise with the people who have made the effort to educate themselves and have had this happen to them, however.

mariahdg
Apr 24th, 2009, 03:34 AM
Don't you know that right-wing japanese think Yamato is superior to all others :yawn:

:hearts: Japanese otaku come out of their houses finally

Pasta-Na
Apr 24th, 2009, 03:40 AM
How about "Japan wants the whales out of country"? :p

KanSuke
Apr 24th, 2009, 03:45 AM
I'm still moving to Japan anyways :inlove:

esquímaux
Apr 24th, 2009, 05:38 AM
Well I lived in Japan for 3 years and am kinda surprised by this. Yes, there were times when I felt prejudiced against, but it was only on a sublte level. This is quite out in the open :o There's no sugar-coating it lol. They're being told to GET THE #$%& OUT OF JAPAN! :( A poster did mention that this debacle is economy-driven, and given the worldwide money dilemma, it shouldn't be THAT surprising to me... people are doing some crazy things these days :o

Halardfan
Apr 24th, 2009, 10:18 AM
I think Japan's broad attitudes to race are similar to Britains in the 70's, they havent undergone the changes we have in recent years though we still have a way to go.

Halardfan
Apr 24th, 2009, 10:31 AM
Just to clarify I love japan, it gets so many things right, im confident it can meet this challenge.

BUBI
Apr 24th, 2009, 03:40 PM
Japan is so racist!!!!!!!!!!!11

...against people of Japanese descent :haha::haha:


The whole problem is caused by globalized economy so why not blame it on that and not on racism which is completely different and way smaller problem.

gentenaire
Apr 24th, 2009, 05:19 PM
My brother lived in Japan for ten years and he felt it was quite a racist country, especially against Chinese.

Kart
Apr 24th, 2009, 05:24 PM
Not surprising since Japan is one of the most openly racist countries in modern society.


Plenty of countries are doing things like this.

UK for instance have tried to do it a bit more subtlely ...

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/markets/europe/article1288798.ece

Crazy Canuck
Apr 24th, 2009, 05:25 PM
...

Also if Japan is so "racist" (talking to the OP) why are they encouraging people of Japanese descent to leave?

"Not pure". Or they might breed with "foreigners", which leads to "not pure" babies.

(not that I believe this to be the only, or even the main reason for the policy)

Crazy Canuck
Apr 24th, 2009, 05:28 PM
Lovin how people cannot see my sarcasm by my :devil: face ;) Keep em comin!

Don't worry, your "duh, what?" face comes across quite clearly.

madlove
Apr 25th, 2009, 01:03 AM
nothing unusual here....

Wigglytuff
Apr 25th, 2009, 01:48 AM
I didn't direct the second comment to you. Chill out.

And if Japan needed foreign workers now, why are they sending them away? The fact is Japan is very crowded, and most people's entire apartment in Japan are no bigger than a normal room here in the U.S.

Also if Japan is so "racist" (talking to the OP) why are they encouraging people of Japanese descent to leave?

but you totally quoted him and made it seem like you did.

Darop.
Apr 25th, 2009, 10:10 AM
:o

bad_angel_109
Apr 25th, 2009, 10:56 AM
wtf? :o thats just despicable and damn racist! :mad: dont they want to help their country's economy and popularity? bloody japanese, think they all high n' mighty, but they're not. come to australia, we're a LOT more multicultural than the japanese. AND we're a beautiful country too

pancake
Apr 25th, 2009, 01:19 PM
I am not a Japanese but some of you are Japanese that here Japanese that there, c'mon I am sure not all of them are that racists and my friends who have been there all told me Japanese are very friendly towards them. But of course I am sure there are some *extreme* cases.

Golovinjured.
Apr 26th, 2009, 12:27 AM
Save the whales, you bitches. Scientific research my ass. :weirdo:

LeonHart
Apr 26th, 2009, 06:19 AM
but you totally quoted him and made it seem like you did.

Well I was too lazy to make 2 posts directed at 2 different people. But it was obvious I was talking to the OP that claims that Japan is a racist country.